Letters to the Editor: Nov. 20, 2019
Hillsboro doesn't care about Jackson School residents
I attended the Hillsboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. I came away with a mixed feeling of dejection and disgust. Many Jackson School neighborhood residents poured their hearts out with concerns about what the proposed project would do the character of the neighborhood. At the end of the meeting the attendants were summarily told by Council Member Rick Van Beveren: "Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention, but (the City Council) has already made its decision."
My conclusion: "This meeting was a charade."
This City Council has failed to develop policy. And I will explain: The City Council is elected by its constituents (the residents of Hillsboro) to represent, advance and advocate for their interests.
How should the City Council develop policy? When proposing a project like Jackson School, its first responsibility is to listen to the residents of Jackson School neighborhood. If the council would have listened, they would have learned that the residents unanimously wanted Jackson School improved and made safer. Everyone wanted sidewalks and bike paths. They also wanted the character of the neighborhood in tact (as many trees should be preserved as possible). Based on listening to the community, they should have developed objectives, guidelines, priorities and limitations (in short policy). With those policy objectives, they then can delegate developing the plan to the city planners and civil engineers to come up with a proposal which meets the outlines of their framework.
Mind you, the civil engineers can develop a plan for the project, but accountability still rests with the council. This has not happened, and this City Council has failed us.
The technocrats ran with the project and never truly wanted any criticism that would alter their dream. Yes, we were allowed to file past the tables during the informational sessions in the gym at Jackson School. The cards were stacked against the residents and the engineers controlled the dialogue, never expecting or tolerating any criticism of substance. To my knowledge, no City Council members were present at these meetings. But here we are: a City Council failing to represent us and the technocrats getting 38 feet of concrete. This City Council has failed us.
Willem Aartsen, Hillsboro
County needs to get it straight — Highway 8 is unsafe
Tualatin Valley Highway claims the second death this year. The area west of Hillsboro is well known for its extremely hazardous and accident-prone area from years past.
Washington County's failure to put safety as a priority over gaining more tax revenue letting the developers off cheap goes back many years. The result of not putting safety measures as a priority will eventually come out of all our pockets at the expense of more lives lost.
Many stories that still are haunting go back years when I was a resident of 341st Avenue. The screeching tires, all hours of the day and night; the sudden impact of crushing metal, followed by the sirens from the Cornelius Fire Department; and the deaths, and that of a baby thrown through a window of an upside-down Dodge Colt feet from the school bus as children were exiting, sometimes several accidents in the same spot in just minutes.
The 1980s land zoning change of the extremely dangerous area of the northwest corner of TV Highway and 341st, was defeated when Commissioners John Meek and Lucille Warren were almost rear-ended at the intersection.
In 40 years, nothing to prevent accidents and saving lives has happened. Today pedestrians run for their lives to catch the bus in front of 50 mph traffic bearing down on them, no crosswalks or caution signs or speed control for heavy traffic and weather conditions.
When will Washington County put safety first over creating more congestion, for more tax dollars?
Carl Calkins, Hillsboro
Well done story on pacemaker surgery
I want to compliment the Portland Tribune and reporter Nick Budnick on the story about Dr. Emilia Arden and the lawsuit about unnecessary pacemaker surgery. [Ed.: The story originally appeared in the News-Times' sister paper, the Portland Tribune.] That was a superbly done piece of investigative reporting.
The article revealed a great deal of information of enormous importance to Dr. Arden's patients, colleagues and employers. It also pointed out some very problematic aspects of the relationship between medical device manufacturers and medical care providers, the exploration of which is very much in the public interest. Well done!
Penny Harper, Tualatin
Thoughts on Trump's totalitarian tendencies
The great 20th-century thinker and writer Hannah Arendt said her book "The Origins of Totalitarianism": "Totalitarian thinkers consider facts liable to arbitrary fabrication and manipulation and hence deeply disdain them."
She went on to say, "Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty."
This perfectly describes the current president of the United States.
David Pauli, Forest Grove
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