Letters to the Editor: Oct. 15, 2020
Former opponent backing Hindley for county board
I am supporting Jeff Hindley for county commissioner because he has the experience we need to lead us through these difficult political and economic times. He respects all people in our community and will work to bring people together by emphasizing our common Washington County values and respecting our freedoms.
Jeff does not owe any favors to special interest groups from outside of Washington County who will block needed reforms and misappropriate government resources for political gain.
On the other hand, Jeff's opponent has received tens of thousands of dollars from interests outside of Washington County. Additionally, she supports higher taxes on employers while avoiding taxes in her own business.
Jeff's opponent does not have the background we need to help our local small businesses stay open or recover from the COVID pandemic.
Jeff is thoroughly invested in our community both personally and professionally — this is why I know that Jeff is the best choice for county commissioner this November.
I urge you to join me in voting for Jeff Hindley, the candidate who will put our communities needs and local businesses before Portland special interests.
Manuel Castaneda, Beaverton
Doyle's coalition speaks to who he is
I have volunteered with the city of Beaverton for the last six years and during that time, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Mayor Denny Doyle.
I have been continually impressed by Denny's leadership, especially his dedication to Beaverton's diverse communities.
Denny doesn't just talk about racial equity — he has taken action through his time as mayor to make real progress for Beaverton. Creating the Diversity Advisory Board in 2013 is just one example, and since then, the Diversity Advisory Board has hosted the annual Beaverton Night Market, drafted resolutions City Council has adopted, and created the city's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Plan, which was adopted by council.
That's why leaders who have been working to advance racial equity are supporting Denny's re-election. From Latinx leaders like myself and Gale Castillo, to Black leaders like former Sen. Margaret Carter and Alton Harvey, to Muslim leaders like Waldo Said and Rania Ayoub, Denny's broad support reflects that he is the trusted partner to continue moving racial equity work forward.
Denny is also the only candidate for mayor who has campaign materials for Spanish-speaking residents.
Please join me in voting to re-elect Denny Doyle for mayor.
Monica Estrella, Beaverton
Neron is a problem-solver, not a problem-causer
The last few years have been marked by once-in-a-lifetime climate events, from wildfires to hurricanes, causing untold misery and the displacement to people worldwide.
This must serve as a wakeup call to all of us; these are not singular events, the results of freak occurrences and happenstance. These are the dire and immediate consequences of global climate change, the results of hundreds of years of man-made pollution. Anyone who still denies this is either willfully ignorant, or financially motivated.
And just as it has become clear that climate change has caused members of our own communities to become refugees, fleeing ahead of destruction, so too has it also become clear that there are only a few politicians willing to stand up and do something about it.
Rep. Courtney Neron of House District 26 is one of those lawmakers. But while Neron and her fellow Democratic lawmakers were working to address this existential crisis facing our planet, Republicans decided they needed to stage a walkout rather than help solve the problem.
We need leaders like Neron in our state House, now more than ever. Because if this last year has proved anything, we can't wait any longer. We need action now.
Alexander Graham, Sherwood
Hillsboro small business owner opposes Metro measure
I ask you to vote against this permanent tax.
As a commercial landscaping business, we have, as many of our business customers have, been impacted by the pandemic. The pandemic has also changed the way we work, live, and commute. And we believe those changes need to be evaluated.
And yet Metro is proposing a tax on every dollar we earn to build transportation projects that we don't think properly addressed the congestion anyway. Do we need to spend billions on a light rail to a mall if we may not be able to return to malls anytime soon?
The answer is no. These are the wrong projects, the wrong tax, and at the wrong time. It will hurt our region's recovery. It will prevent employers from hiring workers. And it will lock our children into paying for debt throughout their careers.
Please vote no.
Owner, Pacific Landscape Management
Focusing on Beaverton's future with Beaty
I love the quote that the greatest use of life is on things that will outlast it. As I look back on my 16 years serving on the Beaverton City Council, we've done some great work for the future, but there is more to focus on. A few of our accomplishments on my watch include:
• Purchasing the Beaverton Building (our new City Hall) for less than half of what it would have cost for us to build one.
• Joining the Willamette Water Supply Program to build a new system that uses modern technology focused on redundancy and resiliency to protect the delivery of clean water that we all need.
• Continuing to involve our community in new ways to shape our future by forming our Vision Action Committee and Diversity Advisory Board.
• Referring a new city charter to our voters last May to fix our 40 year-old antiquated and inefficient rules on how our city is run.
These are important to our long-term health and prosperity, but there is more that must be done. As my tenure on the City Council comes to an end, I want to ensure our next mayor addresses the key priorities I believe are essential to the future of Beaverton. Lacey Beaty is the mayoral candidate who shares my concerns. A few things that we both see as important include:
1. Work on council priorities of COVID response and neighborhood emergency preparedness so that our community members are informed about natural disasters and organized to take care of themselves and to help one another.
2. Start implementing sustainability practices now. Identify the most important first steps in the city's Climate Action Plan. What specifics do we set to accomplish by when? Create a Sustainability Board that includes both professionals with knowledge of sustainability practices and young people who are learning what they need to do to protect the environment for their future and that of their children.
3. Complete an earthquake functional recovery plan for our region with relevant partners. We need to switch from a focus not only on people surviving the initial shake but to re-occupancy and acceptable recovery times for repairing roads, utilities, and other services that we rely on. Additionally, we need to get the state to update building codes so that new and refurbished buildings are safe to be near and to stay in during aftershocks that can go on for months after the big one hits.
4. Consider best practices between the City Council who votes on policies and our 600-plus municipal employees who spend over $200 million a year to execute them. We need to effectively transition to our new charter and choose the best city manager to get the most from our tax dollars.
I believe Lacey shares my dedication to the long-term needs of our community. I encourage residents of Beaverton to bring fresh energy to the office of mayor by electing Lacey Beaty in November.
City Councilor, Beaverton
Metro Council would benefit from Anderson's work in Tigard
I admire the results Tom Anderson has delivered and the manner in which he as done so as a Tigard city councilor. Tom has my full support for Metro councilor.
Over the last two years, my volunteer role with Tigard Little League has encompassed asking the city of Tigard for help to improve the fields on which our children play. Tom has leant significant thoughtful guidance and leadership to that much-needed project that is nearing successful completion.
We need elected officials that are authentic, talented and genuinely invested in delivering positive outcomes for the communities in which they live and work; we need people that are willing and capable of doing the heavy lifting. Tom is undoubtedly that candidate.
Kevin Robinson, Tigard
Does Sloop share the views of her radical donors?
Today I read "Prusak supporters criticize Sloop for 'misleading' attacks" and I was shocked to read that Kelly Sloop thinks accepting financial contributions from organizations means that a candidate agrees 100% with everything that organization says and advocates for.
In that case, I have serious questions about the $5,000 she received from the Oregon Firearms Federation, which advocates against any and all sensible gun legislation. They pride themselves on being the only "no compromise gun rights organization," which often says that the NRA doesn't go far enough in ensuring that guns are available to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Based on her logic, it would be safe to assume that Ms. Sloop holds those extreme views, which put our families at risk.
Mass shootings are terribly common in this country; in our schools, our children are trained in school shooter drills. Sloop may say she wants to have it both ways, and say that accepting money does not mean she endorses 100% of the organization's stances.
But my family's vote will be for Rep. Rachel Prusak, who is a proven champion of common sense gun legislation and works to keep our children and community safe from gun violence.
Katie Spurlock, West Linn
Voting for Kelly Sloop
Rep. Rachel Prusak argued in a recent opinion piece that Oregon should continue to dole out special project funds to cities such as Portland that choose to defund police and force local residents and small business owners to suffer needlessly during violent riots.
As a Tualatin resident, I'm dumbfounded as to why Prusak would think those of us living in other parts of Oregon should continue to send cash rewards to Portland politicians for special projects like the careless Tilikum Crossing bridge in Portland when they can't even provide basic safety and protection for their own residents and small business owners.
I have two children, and as a parent, I know that when my kids act badly, the last thing I should do is reward that bad behavior with extra goodies. But of course, radical politicians like Rachel Prusak want to keep our families' cash flowing to her Portland political buddies who have partially defunded their police department and made downtown Portland a nightly national horror story.
I'm voting for Kelly Sloop because we need a reasonable neighbor in Salem, not a radical Portland politician transplant.
Emily Smith, Tualatin
And what about Neron's liberal donors?
Peggy Stevens' campaign donations come from people in the area who know her and trust her. As Nancy Taylor suggested, I did my own research. I wanted to offer a different point of view.
Rep. Courtney Neron has raised over $152,000 in donations. From June to September, she received over $111,000 in donations from various PACs. The largest donations came from Oregon Trial Lawyers PAC, $15,100, and Citizen Action for Political Education, $25,200, and Future House Builders, approximately $21,000. She received over $4,000 from House Speaker Tina Kotek.
The really interesting part of these last donations is that Tina Kotek controls the funds of the Future House Builders, she lives in the city of Portland and supports the efforts to tie the hands of police. These are the very things Nancy Taylor accused Peggy Stevens of bringing to our rural towns like Sherwood. She also worked hard to pass the very sneaky sales tax called the CAT tax. For those of you who do not understand the tax, it goes like this: A manufacturer sells something to a store. It is taxed on the sale amount. The store sells it and it is once again taxed on the sale amount. If used in the building of a house, it is taxed again by the builder. One item taxed three times, and each time on a larger amount. Worse than a sales tax, and all paid for by the consumer, not a corporation.
We believe in Peggy Stevens' values and her support for the community. She has donated countless hours of service to our community and surrounding areas. She will be a responsible caretaker of the funds we contribute through taxation. She is the owner of rural property, PK Property LLC. A Christmas tree farm on her property.
Nancy Taylor has made a considerable effort to distort the truth about Peggy Stevens, and this gross error needs to be corrected.
Tama King, Sherwood
President an irresponsible, reckless patient
If I was so foolish as to sit in the path of a fast locomotive while believing that trains are made of fluffy marshmallows and only hurt others, but not me because I am "special," it is unlikely that the citizens of America would want to pay my medical bills.
Mr. Trump is not "special," despite his beliefs. By intentionally exposing himself to an often deadly disease, he has taken actions for which he must bear responsibility. The estimated costs today of his added abnormal medical care exceed $1 million — an amount that is more than many Americans can earn in a lifetime of actual hard work. (Just the helicopter ride to Walter Reed was around $50,000, one way.)
That number does not include the costs of the security, police, information handlers, etc., that were forced to be in proximity to him and therefore also at risk — nor does it include yet another taxpayer-funded political joyride in the taxpayer-funded limousine.
There are going to be many lawsuits for reckless endangerment, negligent homicide, manslaughter, etc. as the result of these ignorant, dishonest, egotistical actions. The perpetrator must personally pay those costs.
Pay your own damn self-inflicted virus care costs, Mr. Trump! You did the crime, do the time.
Charles Bickford, Deer Island
Measure 108 will protect kids from e-cigarettes
As a parent, I'm deeply concerned about my son's health, especially the e-cigarette epidemic.
Across Oregon, teen e-cigarette use increased 80% in the past two years. Unfortunately, research shows youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. No wonder Big Tobacco targets our kids.
Yet Oregon doesn't tax e-cigarettes.
Although my son is young, I know it's important to start the work now to ensure he's not a victim of these tactics and won't have access to these deadly items. Help me protect my son.
One of the best ways to keep kids from smoking is to make all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, more expensive. Ballot Measure 108 will tax e-cigarettes for the first time in Oregon and increase our cigarette tax. This cigarette tax will prevent about 19,000 kids and young adults from starting to smoke.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and many health care organizations endorse Measure 108. It will protect kids from a lifetime addiction, save lives from a preventable death and lower health care costs for everyone. The revenue will fund health care programs, including tobacco prevention and cessation programs to fight tobacco.
Join me to vote yes on Measure 108.
Rachel Sarasohn, Tigard
Partisan gerrymandering is a bipartisan practice
After this election each state will be tasked with redrawing congressional districts as well as state House and Senate districts.
In most states, whichever party controls the Legislature will get to draw them. That's the case here in Oregon.
It's disappointing that the voters won't get to vote on creating an independent redistricting committee.
I worry about redistricting. Why? Because we know for a fact that Democrats don't draw fair maps. Look at the Northeast. It's gerrymandered so much that it's basically impossible for a Republican to win.
But we also know for a fact that Republicans don't draw a fair map either. Look at Pennsylvania and North Carolina before the Supreme Court ruled that it was racially gerrymandered and new districts had to be drawn.
With Oregon set to gain an extra Congressional seat, it's important that we have a fair map so all citizens are heard, not just the ones the politicians want to hear.
I worry that whichever party has a majority in 2021 will unfairly rig the map to benefit their party.
This isn't a partisan issue. Both Democrats and Republicans rig the map. Don't believe me? Google Maryland congressional district map and Ohio congressional district map.
John Meissinger, Sherwood
Raging pandemic, looming elections take toll on mental health
Ever since the coronavirus spread across the United States, anxiety and depression has affected my daily life and changed the way I look at the future.
Fear has gripped my life, and at times it becomes suffocating to the point where I cannot do anything productive. It became harder to focus on work during meetings, and more challenging to finish tasks and be productive at work. Even our meetings revolve around discussing coronavirus and when we will be able to return to the office safely.
When I watch TV, everything I see is about coronavirus; even the ads are not the same annoying cheerful ones I used to watch on TV. So, it became difficult to think about the future without thinking about the pandemic.
I know that for many people they lost a loved one or they contracted the virus themselves. I know many people in my life that contracted or died from the virus, and that just increases my fear.
I dislike going to the grocery stores because I get a feeling that I am putting myself in danger of contracting the virus, even though I am wearing a three-layer, gloves and I make sure that I wipe all the groceries with disinfectant wipes when I get back home. Many of my friends who are living in Oregon share my fears about their safety and health.
What gets me through the bad days is the fact that I am not alone in this, and I have the support of millions of Americans, because we are all in this together and we must help each other.
It is especially important to pay attention to our mental health during this month with Election Day, only weeks away from now. I have a constant unsettling feeling in my heart when I watch the news about the election and see the state of what this country has become.
It frustrates me that the current administration dismisses the seriousness of coronavirus, even though they have one of the largest outbreaks within the walls of the White House. It pains me to hear the comments of the current leadership and cannot help thinking about the importance of this year's election, and what the consequences of the result would be if the wrong person were elected.
In the past few weeks, we have heard that coronavirus is not serious, and the flu is worse. [Ed.: The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is significantly deadlier than the influenza virus, according to experts.] We heard that we should not let the pandemic dominate our lives, but the fact stays the same that this administration failed to curb the effects of the pandemic. As a result, we have 212,000 Americans who have died of the virus.
The decision on Nov. 3 has not been any easier than this year.
Reem Alkattan, Tigard
Former Tualatin mayor backs Hindley for county board
As a longtime public servant, I find it hard to find other candidates with the same passion and local ties that I do. But I've found that in Jeff Hindley, who is currently running to be the next county commissioner for Washington County District 1.
Jeff grew up and was raised in Beaverton. He brings a common-sense, non-ideological approach to solving the county's problems, which is rare in government these days
He also brings over 20 years of county government experience to this position and sits on the Homeless Plan Advisory Committee (HPAC), as well as the Rural Roads Maintenance Advisory Committee for Washington County. He is not beholden to any special interest group, union or PAC money. Since the May primary, his opponent, Nafisa Fai, has raised close to $90,000 from PACs and union special interest groups, with over $40,000 of that from groups in Portland. This is the worst of politics.
Despite receiving endorsements from many respected local public officials, Jeff seeks only to be a fair and thoughtful leader for the citizens of the county.
Help Jeff keep Washington County from turning into Multnomah County and vote for him to represent you on Nov. 3.
Lou Ogden, Tualatin
Prusak steps up for constituents in need
I am 73 years old and have worked at Ron Tonkin Kia in Gladstone as a parts runner and courtesy car driver for over 10 years.
I was furloughed on March 23. I knew I didn't have the professional credentials to start over in a remote job. As a single, senior woman, my resources are limited in an expensive world where I am at a high risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms, the stress was immense.
I applied for unemployment online, but the process was unfamiliar to me: I never heard back, so I waited to hear if I was approved to continue my weekly filings. I missed my first week while I waited, and I couldn't get back into the online system or communicate with anyone on the phone and mail. For six weeks, I didn't get any economic relief.
So I wrote to my state representative, Rachel Prusak, and she understood my stress and urgency. She responded quickly by connecting me to a state unemployment official and helped me resolve my issue. What a relief after six weeks of anxiety and fear.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Rachel Prusak for her help and dedication to her constituents.
Irma Trommlitz, Lake Oswego
Neron a bridge-builder for our growing divide
I live in a rural area where most of my neighbors lean red, while I lean blue. Some of these folks I've known for nearly 40 years. But increasingly, we're on opposite sides of a yawning political chasm that affects everything from foreign policy to mask-wearing.
While there's much that we can do individually to reach across the chasm and build bridges, many significant issues that affect our lives are worked out in statehouses and the U.S. Congress. It's imperative that we have bridge-builders in our political spheres.
That's why I'm voting to re-elect state Rep. Courtney Neron. Courtney has demonstrated a willingness to reach across the proverbial aisle and work with Republican colleagues to hold accountable those that would threaten schools or places of worship (House Bill 4145) and ensure that students who experience concussions receive better care (House Bill 4140). She realizes that it's more important than ever to dialog with those of a different political stripe.
Please join me in voting for Courtney Neron. She's working to make sure that urban and rural, red and blue, and rich and poor Oregonians move into the future with a greater sense of unity — with no one left behind.
Jane Glasser, Sherwood
Keep Neron in the House
Courtney Neron is an exceptional representative for House District 26.
She has a heart and compassion for the people, especially honed by her career as an educator. She patiently listens to everyone, both sides, and is judicious in seeing that the taxes raised go to the most essential and needed places, like schools and infrastructure. Our children are our future. She works to secure a better future for all Oregonians.
Let us assure that she remains to finish the great work she started in Salem.
Nan Fendley, Sherwood
Prusak helped small business in time of need
My name is Esther Bedlion. I own and operate a small catering company called Catering Beyond Borders, with my husband and several employees. Our livelihood relies on people gathering. But to stop the spread of the pandemic, all events have been canceled since March.
A summer without weddings hurts.
With nowhere else to turn, I reached out to my state representative, Rachel Prusak. She took action immediately to help not only our small business but the other small businesses that we rely on to operate.
Rachel has been an amazing resource for my family and for our district. She found grants to keep us going, and connected us with families in the community suffering from the virus who needed prepared meals.
She is the reason why my family and our employees still have hope in this time of anxiety. I can personally vouch for her empathy, concern, and compassion. She took action instead of dodging responsibility or blaming others. That's why we need to make sure Rachel Prusak is reelected.
Esther Bedlion, West Linn
Beaty is responsive, forward-thinking
As a founding member and former chair of the Beaverton Diversity Advisory Board, I have a unique perspective into the inner workings of our city government.
The Diversity Advisory Board provides advice to the mayor and City Council on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion across the city. It is through this role that I have come to know and respect Lacey Beaty. I have seen her diligently and authentically recruit diverse voices to all levels of local leadership, from the parks board to city commissions such as DAB, HRAC and the Budget Committee.
Between her position on City Council and her job at the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, I have watched her not only incorporate issues of diversity and inclusion into her policy decisions but also in how she approaches community leaders. She follows through with her saying "the first door in government should be the only one you have to walk through." She makes sure all people have the same level of access to leaders and their needs.
When I voice a concern, I feel confident that Lacey hears what I have to say. My role as a board member has given me a seat at the table. Lacey Beaty has given me a voice. Lacey is the mayor we need in Beaverton.
Cynthia Moffett, West Haven-Sylvan
Doyle's strong leadership shows why he should stay
At a time when we are presented with so many challenges; public health, economic concerns, and systemic racism, I am more passionate than ever about re-electing Mayor Denny Doyle.
Denny has shown incredible interest in the topic of diversity, racial equity and inclusiveness long before most elected leaders were paying attention. Beaverton is one of the most diverse and exciting regions of Oregon, primed for continued growth because it is welcoming and accepting of people of every race, creed, and color.
Denny has also shown strong leadership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Denny's leadership, the city has stepped up to provide funding to businesses and for rent and utility assistance for Beaverton residents, helping lessen the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Racial equity is an important part of this work too, with a majority of the first round of small business relief funding going to women and minority-owned businesses, and funding to help renters going to culturally specific organizations.
As our economy recovers, Denny is the mayor we need at the helm.
Re-elect Denny Doyle for mayor — experience and empathy combined to continue Beaverton's success story.
Chief Executive Officer, Beyond Well Solutions
Not everyone sees the issues Neron sees
Our country is facing what feels like a never-ending amount of civil unrest, perpetuated by police violence. It has boiled over into all parts of Oregon. In fact, I can't think of a county in all of Oregon that hasn't marched in the streets in support of George Floyd.
Here in Sherwood, I was able to attend one BLM march. Most of the speakers I listened to were young Black students. It was truly heart-wrenching to hear their stories of how other students treat them — the endless name-calling from people that they thought were friends; and the normalizing of verbiage used to break them down, to make them feel like they are less than their white counterparts.
When the schools are not willing to hold students accountable or invest in professional development for the staff to learn how to address racism, I am thankful for people like Rep. Courtney Neron. She is willing to not only stand up for Black lives, but as a teacher, she understands how valuable education can be in the fight against racism, especially in the places in our community that lack diversity.
Cory McLennan, Sherwood
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