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Cattle heads not part of Native American ceremony

Thank you Darryl Swan for such an eloquent opinion piece on the cattle heads story (see “Cattle heads story significant for voters,” Feb. 7)

My response is to the issue that Ms. Colleen DeShazer claims that since her fiancé is Native American/American Indian she will play the religious card if need be. This is extremely insulting to American Indians. Her lack of education of the Native ways is very apparent. But, to be sure I am not wrong, I contacted several local tribes in the Northwest and none of them were aware of any traditional cattle head ceremonies. Eastern Indians/India worship cows, not American Indians. Perhaps I did not contact her fiancé’s tribe. However, cattle are not indigenous to the United States and were not here when the settlers came across the great pond. I also contacted three tribes in the southeastern part of the United States and it is not their tradition either to use cattle heads for any ceremonies. We do use bison/buffalo skulls for religious services, but at no time are they dried in a public arena.

Once again, an ignorant person drags and insults the American Indian religious practices, which traditionally are open to outsiders and the ceremony is explained as it takes place. How many of these ceremonies has she attended?

Perhaps Columbia County should set a policy regarding animal body parts, that the animals be treated with respect and if the resident cannot be considerate of both the animals, neighbors and the passing traffic, then they should be invited to move to another county or state.

Susan Ziglinski

Board President of Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest

Columbia City

Signatures for jail levy need to be legit

Is this a cruel joke or what?

What kind of ultra-liberal “elected official” would admit to the local newspaper that, “petitioners are not limiting themselves to getting signatures only from people registered to vote in Columbia County.” Can you say ACORN, anyone?

The last time I checked, that’s not how the process is supposed to work. Even if they, our elected officials, are just looking for support, or lack thereof, for this jail levy/bond. It costs money to place levies/bonds on the ballot. A bigger question is if this board of elected officials will uphold what is, and always has been, a vote from “registered” voters.

Yeah, I get that only registered voters will be ultimately be allowed to actually vote.

But with fake signatures — I can empty a pen also, Susan —the cost of the ballot will be in vain. And the levy will fail anyway. Or, how about I go to Portland with $1,000 and offer a buck for a scrawl on a notebook page. How many people do you think would take me up on that? Geez ... ACORN is alive and well in Columbia County!

I personally have no issue if this bond comes to the table again to be voted on, but I do take issue with a liberal mindset that says, “You will, because we told you, you will. And if you don’t believe me, I’ll show you my fake signatures.”

With that being said ... I personally pledge $1,000, maybe more, to the defeat of this levy/bond measure if it’s placed on the ballot in such an “ACORN” manner. My money is better spent upholding our rule of law and our United States Constitution and Oregon’s Constitution.

I would bet others feel the same in this County.

Frank Canfield

Yankton

Not merry about the Scappoose ‘Prankster’

Regarding the front page story, “Local ‘Prankster’ at the heart of ‘60s-era cultural shift” (Feb. 7), I’d argue it sends a very poor message to the youth of our community: “Do drugs, act irresponsibly, don’t bother with career plans, and if you live, maybe you’ll be glorified in print, someday.” Particularly vexing is the implication that LSD, marijuana and amphetamines are “good” and it’s only meth that should be avoided.

What garbage.

Devote your pages instead to a story on jail options with the following figures for each: total yearly cost (not just “per bed”) and tax revenue needed to cover it. Include the options to close the jail and send inmates elsewhere —near and far— and keep the current jail fully and partially open. Then we can vote on the facts.

Thomas Prevish

St. Helens

Evidence of a ‘university of spin’

I often wonder if there actually is a university of spin. You know, a place where lifelong politicians — and wannabe lifelong politicians — go to learn how to cover up the truth from the public, to learn such phrases as “confidentially agreement,” “we just want to create jobs,” “executive sessions,” “we don’t answer questions in public meetings.” Perhaps even an “if you print that, I will claim religious persecution” phrase could be thrown in here and there.

I have never heard of such a place of learning, but it must exist because it runs rampant in Columbia County.

The Port of St. Helens could not disclose that crude oil trains were coming through the county and cities because of confidentially agreements. OK, I can accept if Starbucks wants to build a coffee shop and wants it kept confidential. I cannot accept that explosive material can be brought in through back room agreements and the public has absolutely no input until — surprise! — here they are.

I certainly side with St. Helens City Councilor Doug Morten when he says, “If I hear one more person say they just want to create jobs, I will puke.”

He is right.

Jobs are needed and so that has become the catch phrase of nearly every publicly elected person in the county.

I would ask the county commissioners and the port commissioners if they attended the university of spin, but would most likely be met with “we don’t answer questions in public meetings” or “that is a matter for executive session.”

If you are a duly elected official and you are asked questions from the people who elected you, you have the obligation to answer truthfully.

If a company wants a confidentially agreement, tell them you have an obligation to your constituents to answer truthfully.

If you want to be reelected, answer truthfully.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

Follow the CoverOregon money

It’s been reported (“Ex-health official’s past work had issues,” Oregonian, Feb. 9) that Carolyn Lawson had worked as the chief information officer (CIO) at the California Public Utilities Commission, then moved to the California office CIO making $95,000 to $99,000 annually at the time the Oregon Health Authority, via CoverOregon, hired her away and offered her in excess of $171,000 to be the CIO.

The report mentions the move as “a gold mine for Lawson.”

Now Steven Powell, former contractor-friend who was brought in for questioning back in 2008 regarding improper contract protocol that Lawson oversaw while at the California PUC, is taking her place at CoverOregon. After reported incomes of just $5,200 in 2009 and $13,000 in 2010, it’s reported his salary as interim CoverOregon CIO will be $181,000. Eureka!

The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 3 that Gov. Jerry Brown of California received a salary bump from $165,000 to $173,000, “putting him among the highest paid governors in the country,” according to the Council of State Governments. Remember this phrase: “among the highest paid.”

Governors have to run for governor; a risky, difficult and expensive proposition only to become a most-scrutinized and criticized administrator should they win. Add California’s unique circumstances: a porous border, budget-tax woes and infrastructure maintenance bigger then almost any state in the union. Crime, gangs, and an independent legislature round out the major files.

So the interim CIO for CoverOregon has more on his plate then Gov. Brown? I find this unbelievable. Oh, don’t forget: We’ll be paying the Public Employment Retirement System (PERS) payments on these extravagant salaries for the rest of their lives.

Is it any wonder CoverOregon’s $160 million website rollout’s gained national attention? Looks like a gold mine to me.

Wayne Mayo

Scappoose