Letters to the Editor: March 18, 2020
Garrett shows his quality in caring for all
Please join me in re-electing Sheriff Pat Garrett.
As a Washington County community member and volunteer in the Washington County Jail, I firmly believe that Sheriff Pat Garrett is responsible for a safe, well-run, clean, and modern jail. This facility offers a wide variety of important services to inmates, providing them with important skills, abilities, and attitudes necessary to become successful members of society upon release thus reducing the odds of returning to jail. These services include programs like drug and alcohol relapse prevention, mental health treatment, housing support, job training, parenting classes, anger management, violence prevention programs, literacy courses, high school credit recovery, GED completion courses, and many more.
Not every inmate is ready to change, but thanks to Pat's commitment to serving every member of Washington County, the Sheriff's Office is always ready to deliver this array of life-enriching — and sometimes life-saving — services to those in need.
As a homeowner in Washington County for over 38 years, I trust Sheriff Garrett, who is just, accountable, and believes in values driven-service for all of community citizens, including those incarcerated. I hope you'll join me in voting to retain Pat Garrett as our Washington County sheriff.
Robert Zahrowski, Rock Creek
Taxes handed down from on high just won't fly
I am weary of attitudes in Oregon that might makes right. Regardless of party affiliation, any majority can be wrong in its public policy. History is full of examples. Forcing a severe mandate on all Oregonians without opportunity to vote is wrong.
I disagree that recent legislative attempts ensure a future for our state. They do not. Higher tax measures are destructive to our future and to our freedoms to create a secure living for our families.
Government is not the ultimate answer to our problems. There are times when bureaucrats need to get out of the way and let us innovate. We are capable of finding creative solutions. Oppressive taxation is not one of them.
Deborah L. Knapp, Gaston
Some ways to make government work by and for the people
Time for more Opinions-From-Me.
How do we (the citizens) effect these changes?
1. Term limits. I've seen several memes saying "It's Time!" for term limits, and I agree, but I just don't know how to go about gettin' 'er done. I doubt that any elected official currently in office will propose the appropriate legislation. So how do we Joe Citizens of the world effect the change? Is it by ballot initiative? How do you do that? Is there one already in the works? If so, where is it (I'll sign)? Is there a way to get this on a nationwide ballot?
2. Lobbying graft. I've said it before, but here it is again: Lobbying should be illegal. The argument for lobbying is that "the little guy" can band together with similar people, pool their resources, and hire an agent (the lobbyist) to buttonhole congressmen and persuade them to do right. But what really happens is that "powerful interests" overwhelm any effort the little guys can make, throwing big money at politicians that are then able to use it to win re-election. Deep inside, they may sympathize with the little guys, but self-interest overweighs that: They love the power that comes with the elected position and will do almost anything to stay in office. So here again is the problem: How do we-the-citizens get legislation introduced (and passed) that will make all lobbying illegal?
3) Voter fraud. Many have their own axe to grind, I suppose, but none of the arguments I've heard against paper ballots and voter picture ID have any weight. Most are hypotheticals ("What about the poor old blind woman in a nursing home that can't get an ID, and also has no way to get to the polls?" The answer to that one is pretty easy, though, and is posed by way of a set of return questions: How does said woman vote now? Who reads the ballot to her? Who instructs her on the issues at hand? How does her ballot get marked, and who delivers it to the poll? Don't each of these answers raise the question of voter fraud?) aimed at directing attention away from the issue, and onto social problems that need to be addressed elsewhere. I live in Oregon, which does vote-by-mail, which is pretty open to fraud. I have friends that readily admit voting for their friends and relatives. Why does anybody think that is okay? Let's get this changed. How?
Harold Hutchison, Forest Grove
Pandemic claims Oregon Battle of the Books
I am a fourth-grader at West Union Elementary in Hillsboro. I am 10 years old and love to read so that is why I decided to do Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB). This year, I had a good team, with four strong readers, and we were going along smoothly winning our battles. I was having a lot of fun. In our last battle we won and were going to go to the grade 3-5 OBOB Regionals! Our team was ecstatic!
Then the COVID-19 came to the West Coast. I was not very worried about what would happen to the OBOB Regionals then (I was more worried about myself). On March 12, we got the news, the regionals were canceled. My team was very unhappy. All of the work we did had gone to waste.
The OBOB board needs to know that some of the teams take OBOB very seriously, and by canceling it, we feel they are being unfair. They should have at least offered one chance for rescheduling. My team has spent months practicing for this, and now they just send us an email that regionals are canceled. I felt like they had no feeling at all, as if they were just robots saying regionals are canceled, thanks for participating. All of our families and fourth-grade teachers were very involved in helping us reach regionals.
Thanks to everyone involved, I had a nice experience, but I am disappointed with the outcome.
Aanandhi Ganesh, Helvetia
A disaster we've seen before — but not for a while
Late in my eighth decade, at a time coronavirus is upon us, I am struck how current generations have been spared similar crises for the most part.
During the 1800s, malaria was prevalent, rabies not uncommon and East Coast summers brought death from yellow fever. Typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid, tetanus, influenza, measles, pneumonia, and scurvy caused more Civil War deaths than combat. In winters, the young died of whooping cough and diphtheria. In 1918, influenza killed millions of young and old worldwide. The youth in my era dreaded polio and rheumatic fever, unheard of now.
For decades, vaccines and antibiotics have spared us. As we face the threat of coronavirus, may we be thankful for past advances in medicine, hopeful and confident of more to come, laudatory of the leadership in Oregon for its interventions, appreciative of the resilience of preceding generations, and dedicated to emulate their courage, willingness to place population before self and support each other in trying times.
David Nardone, Hillsboro
Garrett is compassionate, listens to people's needs
As a mother, neighbor, business owner and advocate, I believe we must keep Pat Garrett our Washington County sheriff.
I first met Pat 10 years ago when advocating for someone in mental health crisis. Even though my issue wasn't with the Sheriff's Office, I asked Pat to help me navigate this advocacy with other agencies. He listened and acted then, and he continues to listen and act now.
Like me, Pat works for healthy outcomes for those with mental illness. Under his guidance, the Sheriff's Office focuses on connecting people to services. His insistence on compassionate
policing emphasizes crisis intervention training for his deputies. He's expanded the Mental Health Response Team, pairing mental health clinicians with deputies to respond to situations involving community members in crisis. These specially trained teams deescalate crisis situations, promote healthy outcomes, and often provide individuals medical assistance instead of taking them to jail.
Pat ensures the presence of mental health workers inside the jail and also supports Mental Health Court and Jail Mental Health Diversion programs. Additionally, Sheriff Garrett's leadership was instrumental in establishing the Hawthorn Walk-in Center, a wonderful facility providing police officers and deputies in Washington County an alternative place to take those experiencing mental health crises.
We need compassionate police. We need Sheriff Garrett.
Sally Fabre, Aloha
Loan payment holiday would give short-term relief
Coronavirus emergency measures mean many people, by doing the right thing, could lose their homes and small businesses.
Financial institutions could declare a loan payment holiday and thereby polish up their images — images which were so badly tarnished when the 2008 Great Recession put people out of their homes.
The most lasting negative outcome of this coronavirus for most people will be the loss of income due to job furloughs without pay. Inevitably, for many, this will result in either the loss of their home or small business.
Governments are doing what they can to minimize this impact. Banks and financial institutions could demonstrate their goodwill by going one step more: Allow anyone who feels they need immediate short-term relief for mortgage payments to skip some payments without penalty. Individuals who don't need this help can carry on as usual; people who should take advantage will be pushing their final payment out. Easing the interest rate for those unpaid months will help a great deal too.
This would essentially adjust someone's 30-year (360 months) loan to something like 363 months for the same price. Fewer people will be forced to close their small businesses, or pushed out of their homes; without these mortgage payments to worry about, they may have enough resources to continue eating and bolster the economy too.
This same loan holiday will help landlords too; and in exchange for this gift, they must provide short term relief for their renters who may otherwise be forced into homelessness. This benefit to affected tenants, like all mortgage holders, will be an investment that helps save us from another serious recession. Is this asking too much of our financial institutions?
Susan Peter, Aloha
Beware the unlicensed barn
This paper's opinion piece "Protect yourself amid wedding-season woes" (Feb. 20, 2020, by Danielle Kane) described the challenges when a chain of commercial event centers closed, leaving couples unexpectedly without a venue.
Let me add another reason to do your due diligence when you reserve a wedding location. If you are renting a barn in Washington County, it may not be a legal venue, and unscrupulous owners are not likely to say so. They are willing to violate land-use laws for their own profit.
Oregon is unique in our country for having land-use laws that were established to protect farm land for farm use. Agriculture is the growing of crops and/or livestock, and Oregon's Land-Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) has ruled that weddings are not agriculture.
As a farmer who lives by an illegal commercial event center established last year, I can say firsthand that these events bring problems one associates with commercial gatherings: traffic and noise that goes on for hours (including past the 10 p.m. county regulation), as well as rural issues of harassment of livestock (which is illegal), and trespassing.
As many of my neighbors will attest, the peace and quiet we've experienced for decades in our rural neighborhood is undone every weekend by people who are unaware that they aren't permitted to do what they are doing where they are doing it. And unfortunately, enforcement of the county land-use laws is limited by the fact that there is only one person dealing with the more than 300 complaints he receives annually regarding violations.
Buyer beware. Protect and respect Oregon's land-use laws. Otherwise, you risk finding out your dream barn venue has been shut down.
Jude Lichtenstein, Forest Grove
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