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Letters

Letters to the editor for the issue of April 18, 2014


Wondering about ‘without cause’ in chief firing

I have been a resident of the city of Scappoose for over 50 years and I feel that the residents of this city are entitled to know the findings against Scappoose Police Chief Doug Greisen and if they are valid complaints and if they do indeed show that something was done illegally. I don’t know if what I read in the Spotlight is actually correct or not, but it seems to me to fire someone without cause opens the city up for a lawsuit. I don’t believe that as taxpaying residents of the city of Scappoose we should have to pay for lawsuits if the reasons are not valid, and I believe as taxpayers we are entitled to know what the findings were of the charges against Greisen.

I have heard many people say that they think that this has been nothing but a witch hunt from day one, and they say it sounds like someone had their feelings hurt and did not like it. If Greisen did something illegal, then the decision to fire him is probably correct, but we taxpayers have the right to know what the findings of the investigations were.

Robert M. Lalande

Scappoose

The high price of watershed clear-cut

The Gourlay Creek Watershed is the only portion of Scappoose’s city-owned forest not logged within the past few decades. It is a shame on many levels that this 40-acre parcel is going to be mostly clearcut, especially since it ignores the forest plan recommendation for this parcel approved by the city in 2002. Perhaps that plan was torn up already.

In that plan, the city wanted to “encourage and build upon existing diversity in stand structure” on that site. Perhaps encouraging existing diversity means clearcutting the vast majority, eliminating most of the wildflowers, birds, animals and pollinators that make mature forests so special. Then you spray herbicides, thin and log every few decades.

Some diversity plan.

Leaving a few larger trees while clearcutting the rest is a token gesture to management practices now favored by many other communities. Surely the citizens would have survived just fine without logging this area. High-quality natural areas within a few miles of town are an important amenity that Scappoose has failed to recognize. Heavily logging watersheds used for drinking water is also recognized as damaging.

Enjoy your cheaper water rates, Scappoose. It comes at a steep price.

Lona Pierce

Warren

A ‘desire for a safe and healthy community’

As your St. Helens City Council representative and police commissioner, I would like to focus this report on the potential impacts of the Columbia County Jail closing. On May 20, there will be a measure on the ballot to fund jail services at a cost of approximately 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The jail supports an effective criminal justice program. Financial challenges have required reductions to the point that the jail can no longer meet minimum mandated service levels. If the jail closes, the city would have the option to contract with neighboring facilities at our expense with the added responsibility of transporting prisoners to and from the facility. Outsourcing services would increase the city’s public safety expenses, reduce operational efficiency and impact the overall criminal justice program.

The St. Helens Police Department’s and the city’s mission statements illustrate the importance of the Jail.

St. Helens City Police Department mission:

“The mission of the St. Helens Police Department is to work with all citizens to make our city a place where people live safely and to promote individual responsibility and community commitment.”

St. Helens City Council mission:

“Develop and preserve the highest possible quality of life for our residents, businesses, and visitors.

“Provide a safe and healthy environment within a sound economic framework.

“Provide leadership which is open and responsive to the needs of the community and works for the benefit of all.”

These statements emphasize our community’s desire for a safe and healthy community. If the jail closes, maintaining an effective criminal justice program will increase costs and impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the city’s public cafety program.

Keith Locke

St. Helens city councilor

and police commissioner

Good place, good people

It is so nice to be in a community that has fine, honest people in it. On our way home through Scappoose, we decided to stop at the Dairy Queen for some lunch. Had a great meal, cleaned up our table and left for home.

The minute we walked through the door, I realized I left my purse at the DQ. I felt sick!

My husband called and they said, “Yes, we have it.” My faith in humanity is restored. Thank you so much to the man who found it and left it with the workers — also honest, fine people — at the DQ.

I promise that I will pay it forward. Thank you so much.

Linda Thomas

St. Helens

Petersen is a ‘trailblazer’

The most important fact of Agnes Petersen’s campaign is the issue of serving beyond an antiquated guideline of age. If anyone knows Agnes Petersen, and I believe everyone does who has lived in Columbia County for any length of time because of her numerous public service causes and her legal practice, they know that Agnes Petersen is tireless and brilliant — the U.S. Supreme Court would be lucky to have her, and there is no antiquated rule regarding age for that illustrious body.

Mandatory age restrictions in any field of work are now open to challenge. No one, no matter what kind of profession, should be told that they can no longer do their job solely because of a rule that states you are no longer able after a certain birthday. That is the important issue here. Not only does Columbia County have the opportunity of striking out this discriminatory rule, but also to elect an undeniably outstanding person to be circuit court judge, Position No. 3.

Trailblazers are vital to our world and our community. Without them, women would not be able to vote, our current U.S. president would not be in office — and each of us could list dozens of other rules that were changed by trailblazers. We honor those people who step forward and make change. Our local and state elected officials should seize the opportunity to cast off this useless rule regarding abilities. Every single person is or will be affected by this change.

Sally Brandenfels

Yankton

Don’t miss out

It is your opportunity to vote and write in “Agi P. for Position 3.” Agnes Petersen will bring to the position of circuit court judge, District 19, Position No. 3, hard work, knowledge and history — which she has proved with her impressive career as a practicing lawyer for over 50 years. She will serve in this capacity with wisdom, wit, integrity, confidence and humility.

It is a completely outdated law that a judge can’t serve after 75 years. The U.S. Supreme Court allows these intelligent judges to serve. A brain is a terrible thing to waste.

Einstein said, “The only remedies against prejudice, is enlightenment and education.” Let’s be the tools for making change and let’s make history. Remember: write in “Agi P. for Position 3.”

Phyllis Woods

Columbia City

Heym for judge

When I see Jason Heym, I see a very devoted husband and father. He has concerns for his family, he wants them to be able to grow up and have a good life on his small farm. He wants good schools and the community to be safe. These are the same desires we all have.

The difference between Jason and us is he is willing to take a job that will give him an opportunity to help keep us all safe, which will help develop a better life for all of us.

I would like to touch on another subject that has been bothering me. I would like our community to be more informed as voters. I think some of the information on the Internet is undocumented, words that are put into print with no facts to prove the statements. This is a very harsh way to convince someone to select you. I would like to see positive information given by candidates and their supporters when running for a public position. Give reasons why I should vote for a candidate, not why I shouldn’t vote for the opponent. Let’s compare apples to apples and let the person running for a position be selected based on their abilities and not by unsubstantiated stories put out to the public by others.

Ray Murphy

Columbia City