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Readers sound off one more time before races like Washington County DA, chair and auditor are decided.

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Commercial solicitations will not be accepted as letters to the editor. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity.

Why can't conservatives run school boards, too?

In your April 28 article "School boards have little support from constituents," there is this statement: "In Washington County, one woman said voters in her community 'managed to keep crazy, fringe characters' off the school board."

Can't conservative parents have a say in what their children are being taught or are only "progressive" people allowed to direct school boards?

The main reason that conservatives are trying to be represented on school boards is that their values are often not considered. These people are decent, concerned individuals who are not "crazy, fringe characters."

Charles Felton, Laurel

Chaichi can bring Beaverton advocacy to Salem

The Portland metro area alone is home to more than 10,000 people of Iranian heritage. Yet, in its long history, the Oregon Legislature has yet to have an Iranian American represent constituents in its chamber.

As a young, well-connected Iranian American in the metro area, I know just how important it is for us to make history by sending Farrah Chaichi to the Oregon State House as the representative for House District 35.

Beyond being the daughter of an Iranian immigrant, Farrah is a leader with deep integrity. I've had the pleasure of seeing Farrah in action.

When she was the chair of the Beaverton Human Rights Advisory Commission, I was her vice-chair. And when I took over the role of chair, Farrah was my vice-chair.

Throughout our years of service together, I observed no better fighter on our board for human rights than Farrah. I knew that she was not afraid of pushing the envelope to advance the lives of our community members — the exact kind of representative we need in Salem.

Farrah shares my view that housing is a human right, and that climate change is not a problem for the future, but rather a crisis of today. We worked together to lead the charge against the City of Beaverton's camping ban and pushed to create additional shelters for houseless residents in the city.

Farrah is not just someone who says she cares about human rights and the most pressing issues facing our area — she has rolled up her sleeves and actually done the work at the grassroots level to make change. That is what she will continue to do in Salem.

So, let's make history and allow the strong Iranian community in the area to see ourselves represented in the state House by someone who will not only make history by who she is — but also by what she does.

Cameron Monfared, Beaverton

Why we should protect our bees

About a year ago, the farm field I live near sprayed their field with pesticides.

The other farmers around us were using bees to help pollinate their trees. Unfortunately, by the end of the day, we found many dead bees in our yard, and so did our neighbors.

The farmers who had lost their bees talked to the farmers that sprayed the poison. It became apparent that the farmer who sprayed the pesticide had no concept of the legal requirements they were supposed to follow. They profusely apologized to the bee farmers.

In my opinion, we should take extra precautions to protect our bees. Some reasons are bees do more than we think, and it's an issue that we are not as educated as we should be. People are too afraid of bees, and it makes them not care as much.

Banks and Forest Grove both have a lot of farmland. We rely on bees way more than most think; however, the farmers are losing their pollinators.

Some methods for helping bees are planting a garden and refraining from using pesticides. By doing that, it will give them more to pollinate, and it will keep them away from harmful chemicals. They boost our economy and are crucial to producing fruits, vegetables and honey. Bees are fertilizers, and it's something not everyone thinks has a huge effect on our lives.

For context, Banks and Forest Grove both have a lot of farmland; this indicates that we have lots of bees, and other animals to take care of. Fresh fruit is important; when you spray it with pesticides, it not only hurts the bees, as it's not healthy for us either. They are important for not only pollination, but they also produce honey.

We lose around 30% of our bees every year, about a thousand bees every day in the summer from many different factors.

Bees do so much for us that we don't see in our daily lives. If we had no bees, we would not be where we are today economically.

My theory is if bees didn't sting, we wouldn't be so afraid. Not all bees sting, so we should not be afraid of them or want to kill them.

There are many different variables that make bees want to sting. Provoking, swatting and freaking out when they approach you will make them sting. They will also be more attracted to you. Staying calm and letting them do their thing will prevent them from stinging. It can be especially dangerous if you have an allergy to bee stings, known or unknown.

I care a lot about bees and keeping them safe, and I feel like you should too. We derive a lot of benefits from bees. That's why I think we should protect them.

Alexzandria Crafton, Banks

Mental health issues affect people with special needs, too

When I was in fifth grade, and at a third-grade level, I was far behind — yet all I can think is "I can't." No matter what I do, it seems hopeless. I had nowhere to run to; I was all alone to deal with the anxiety attack in front of everyone.

Mental health affects a lot of people, especially those with special needs. The CDC says that adults with special needs are more likely to have problems.

You would think it was standard to have an area to breathe outside of a counselor's office. As someone with dyslexia and mental health difficulties, I can confirm that it is harder than most might think. The want and drive to succeed are not there as in most people without mental health issues.

Most do not understand this concept because it is a touchy subject. Sometimes, people end up giving in rather than sticking it out.

It is a lot easier to prevent mental illness in students before it starts to develop, so when they grow up, it isn't going to affect them so badly. Mental health problems develop over time, while most disabilities people are born with.

Preventing mental health issues due to stress is hard, but if schools have the right facilities, it can be prevented or managed before you become an adult and things start getting out of hand.

Sometimes an attack can come out of nowhere. Factors such as one wrong word or an unintentional glance can push you over the edge.

To give a little context, think of it as a pot of water on a stove, you turn up the heat. The water is going to boil. If you turn it up even more, it boils over.

That is how anxiety works. The person having the attack has specific triggers, and as one is set off, the rest end up being flipped too. It can be mild to where you don't even know you have one. On the other hand, it can be so big that you are crying and just ending up in a big mess.

If you are an adult, or in high school, it can be something that can affect how people view you. Some may interpret it as something they do not want to be around and have to deal with.

When I was in fifth and sixth grade, I was called names because I couldn't control my emotions. If there was a place I can go to be alone and calm myself down, it would have been a lot easier.

Dealing with problems is different from person to person; it tends to vary. Theoretically, a hideaway would be easier. If there could be a specific place to hide from the world, it would be beneficial. Sometimes you need to try a different method. I know others would agree with me.

We need to prevent and help those before they become adults, because about 50% of mental illnesses start by the age of 14. It is also most commonly a genetic trait; therefore, it can be predicted for the most part.

As said by Desiderius Erasmus, "Prevention is better than cure." So please spread your newfound knowledge everywhere you can, because it will make more people aware, and if given the chance, say yes to building an escape for students.

Nickeeta Kirk, Banks

Something good that Congress has done

It's not often that we the public take time to express our gratitude to our members of Congress when they continue their support for a cost-effective and needed program like Medicare Advantage that millions of seniors like me depend on for their healthcare.

Although I personally enjoy good health today and take care of myself by staying active through regular yoga practice and walking, I have access to testing and services that allow me to stay ahead of any health issues before they become serious. Medicare Advantage encourages me to keep an active lifestyle as prevention against health problems that come with sedentary living. I appreciate the reminder.

Medicare Advantage offers added benefits at an affordable price to traditional Medicare like coverage for dental, hearing, vision and mental health services. Most every senior could use help with at least one of these services.

So, a sincere thank you to Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley and all Oregon's members of Congress who supported this program's renewal. It gives me peace of mind knowing it's there when I need it.

Nancy Murray, Southwest Portland

Loans are meant to be repaid

Just a couple of questions on loan forgiveness, President Biden.

Why stop at student loans? How about home mortgage loans and car loans and best yet, credit card loans. Same rationale for all — maybe that will buy many more votes in 2022 midterms. And people that were dumb enough to save for their children's education, or work their way through college, or join the military for tuition help, deserve to be stuck with paying for "forgiven loans."

Someone will have to repay those funds, if not the recipient. They might be forgiven, but taxpayers will be responsible.

It is a very slick method to transfer wealth from the "haves" to the dumb ones that paid their own way or chose not to go to college. Too bad neither Congress nor voters ever approved this idea, but fortunately, you can use executive orders.

Should you want to reform the student loan program, the only practical method would be to get the federal government out of the student loan program. Twelve years ago, when the federal government took over the student loan program, Nancy Pelosi famously said, "This is great! Now we will make money on this program because our administrative costs will be so much lower." [Ed.: This is not a direct quote from Pelosi.]

So why have you, Joe, canceled over $2,000,000,000 in student loans since you were inaugurated? Is that your definition of "making money"?

My last question is, what part of the definition of the word "loan" is not understood by college and postgraduate students?

L.F. Sitter, Rock Creek

Retired Sherwood police chief backing Barton

I recently retired from law enforcement after 32 years, and every one of those years was spent in Washington County.

I've seen how public safety in Washington County has progressed the last three decades, and more importantly, I've experienced firsthand the successes and leadership from District Attorney Kevin Barton. He's kept Washington County safe by instituting responsible reforms like a specialized Domestic Violence Unit, Cold Case Unit, Hate Crimes Team, Veterans Treatment Court, Mental Health Court, Diversity Job Fair, and a Family Peace Center for abused and traumatized children.

Under District Attorney Barton's leadership, Washington County is the safest large county in Oregon, with a crime rate 30% below the state average and 50% below Multnomah County.

As a result of those successes and leadership, it's no surprise that District Attorney Barton has been endorsed by the Washington County sheriff and all the police chiefs in Washington County.

Please ignore the rhetoric from his opponent, who is funded by Portland backing.

Keep your trust in District Attorney Kevin Barton and vote Kevin Barton for Washington County district attorney.

Jeff Groth, La Pine

What do we want for Oregon?

With election primaries for several top positions across the state fast approaching in May, it is important to step back and consider what every candidate is advocating for and whether they will actually bring change to Oregon.

People should pay particularly close attention to the candidates vying for the governor seat.

Since 2015, Kate Brown has led the state and been the most powerful person in Oregon. In a poll conducted by the Morning Consult of all 50 state governors, Brown came in dead last with an approval rating of just 43%, as reported by Willamette Week and KATU Portland in late 2021. That approval rating is close to current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont had the highest national approval rating of 79%, the same state which progressive U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders hails from.

Under Brown's tenure, Oregon on a national level has seen one of the highest tax rates, highest gas prices, highest public assistance numbers, and ranking near the bottom on graduation rates and drug treatment facilities, but it owns the highest drug addiction rate, according to federal data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Furthermore, on a local level, it's hard to forget the COVID unemployment system debacle, the state foster care program disaster and scandal, the lack of transparency in accessing government documents, the rising crime rate, homeless issue that is a statewide problem, and finally the clemency of numerous convicted violent criminals with little legal or public consultation.

These are just a few of the more recent issues and perhaps validly explain Brown's paltry poll numbers.

Governor hopeful Tina Kotek was speaker of the House from 2013 to 2021 while all of these things worsened.

Regardless of your political stance, Oregon has some serious problems that will only get worse if real change is not voted for in 2022. As a lifelong Oregonian, I think we can do better, and it's embarrassing the state claims so many categories of society on a national level.

So, before you vote, please look at all of the facts, and let's bring Oregon back to a place of proud standing again.

Andy Haugen, Hillsboro

DA's Office dropped ball on Coffee Creek case

A deputy district attorney and campaign contributor to Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton recently wrote an opinion here ("DA takes sex abuse allegations seriously," published April 28, 2022) defending Barton's decision against prosecuting Tony Klein, the man who reportedly sexually assaulted 27 inmates at Coffee Creek women's prison. Jeff Lesowski makes the deeply offensive claim that the attorney representing some of these survivors is politically motivated. And his argument that Barton's office didn't have enough evidence to charge Klein is irrational. Lesowski claims the Department of Justice is prosecuting when Barton's office couldn't because the FBI obtained significantly more evidence against Klein than did state police. This vastly overstates the value of the federal investigation, however, at the heart of which was a deposition so filled with falsehoods that it triggered four counts of perjury. While it's true the FBI investigated Klein starting in 2018 after DA Barton failed to prosecute him, Klein's recent federal charges stem from conduct during 2016 through 2017—as documented by the state police, not the FBI. Thus, DA Barton's office dealt with essentially the same evidence against Klein now utilized in the DOJ's prosecution. Lesowski also wrote that Barton's office didn't prosecute Klein because evidence was not sufficient to prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt—which is too high of a standard. The requirements for a prosecutor to bring charges are the reasonable belief — not absolute certainty — that there is probable cause to charge, that admissible evidence will support conviction, and that charging is in the interests of justice. Charging decisions are thus entirely in the hands of what a prosecutor "reasonably believes." We need a change to a DA whose leadership makes clear they "reasonably believe" all survivors — even those who are incarcerated. That's why I'm voting for Brian Decker for Washington County district attorney.

Molly Fellus, Hillsboro

Layda is House District 31's man of action

Drew Layda is the person who gets involved personally with many organizations and causes. He leads by example.

He has been supportive of my organization on election integrity. Him and Kanden have been there helping, volunteering and have been a great support.

Drew will be there for you in Salem. He will speak for the people, because he knows where they are coming from. He does the groundwork and learns and understands the issues.

The only way I know of his opponent Brian Stout is by seeing his signs. That's it. I never see him anywhere. Fighting for no one.

I've seen Drew on the streets waving signs fighting for people's freedoms and rights. I've seen Drew at school board meetings fighting for children's freedoms and rights. He is everywhere, listening and fighting for the people.

Where's Brian Stout? He's on signs. That's about it.

Drew is the best person for the job. He understands the laws and legislation and will not back down when it comes to fighting for our rights and freedoms.

Vote Drew Layda. We need change in Salem and in this state and it's time for the people's voice to be heard!

Michelle Overby, Warren

Vote pro-choice candidates

Forty-nine years after Roe v. Wade, the single most important issue on the ballot is reproductive freedom.

Women will face unintended pregnancy. We will have abortions, safe or unsafe, legal or illegal.

This is not just an issue of state's rights. Women will never experience economic equality without control of our own bodies.

Shame on five Supreme Court justices. Our daughters and sisters deserve the same constitutional protection and access we have.

Abortion is not a dirty word. Abortion is healthcare. Vote for pro-choice candidates.

Linda Monahan, Tigard

Washington County should keep Hutzler as auditor

I am proud to endorse John Hutzler for Washington County auditor in the upcoming election on May 17. Having known John for the past seven years, I have seen first-hand how he communicates effectively across cultural backgrounds and political affiliations. He sees the position of auditor as a professional function rather than a political office. During John's whole life, he has shown a commitment to public service. In addition to his 25 years as a performance auditor, he has been involved in the leadership of many community organizations. In the Washington County area alone, he has served on the boards of the PHAME Academy, the Washington County Public Affairs Program, First Unitarian Church and the ARC of Washington County. With John's keen communication, organizational and analytical skills, I am confident that as auditor, he will continue to successfully examine Washington County's programs and operations to determine their effectiveness, efficiency and accountability.

Joyce Kozo, Bethany

ESPD levy deserves support

Thank you to the Editorial Board for endorsing a "yes" vote on Measure 34-310. I agree — renewed funding for the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District (ESPD) deserves your yes vote.

In urban unincorporated areas, our public safety system is supported in large part by the ESPD. With rapid responses to emergency calls at less than half the time of the national average, the district serves our communities well and provides resources for responding to property theft and investigating major crimes. At a cost of 83 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value, the renewal of this funding is an affordable way to keep our communities safe and ensure residents in urban unincorporated areas continue to receive public safety service on par with those of nearby cities. To continue funding this district, we need to pass Measure 34-310 in this May's election. May 34-310 maintains the funding for these vital public safety services so many of us are fortunate to receive. That is why local first responders, county leaders, mayors across Washington County, and service providers for homelessness and mental health services are all supporting Measure 34-310.

Please join us in voting yes on Measure 34-310.

James Breathouwer, West Slope

People with food allergies are underserved

We are in a time of great need for resources and support.

As COVID continues to come in waves of new variants, people are continuously living in fear of getting the newest variant. Populations with food allergies are seeing severe consequences when they get sick and are unable to work. Food banks do not stock adequate amounts of allergen friendly foods and programs such as food stamps or WIC do not account for the increased price of allergen free foods.

If people with food allergies are unable to work, they are unable to purchase groceries, but are also unable to rely on assistance programs for support.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that children in the lowest-income section spend on average 2.5 times more on emergency medical care, potentially linked to the lack of accessible allergen-friendly food. Children with food allergies in families in low-income tax brackets continue to see the harshest realities of inaccessible appropriate food. They face consequences such as malnutrition and hunger. Such consequences have an impact on focus and attention, putting these same children at disadvantages in school.

Currently, there are 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens across the country. Only four have confirmed that they exclusively stock allergen-friendly food that is accessible to all. Of these four, only two have remained in operation throughout the pandemic, making allergen-friendly food more difficult than it already has been prior.

It is easy to believe we are "doing the best we can," but we never are. There needs to be change within the system to support vulnerable populations — changes such as supplying allergen-friendly food items in food banks for those with medical necessity, as well as re-evaluating stipends from food assistance programs to account for the increased price of allergen-free foods.

There is always more we can do, and ways we can better our systems. It is time to take action to help all populations who need it, not just the most typical.

Emma Enquist, Forest Grove

Kotek walks the walk on environment

How many of us in Oregon are feeling fears and anxiety for our climate's future?

In recent decades, the solutions to our climate problems are often met with strong, non-progressive political headwinds and roadblocks. Can we elect experienced leadership in Oregon that guides the state past these?

One candidate for governor, Tina Kotek, has this experience. As House Speaker, she guided this legislation:

• 2015 — Oregon Clean Fuels Program;

• 2015 — Toxic Free Kids Act, phasing out harmful chemicals from toys;

• 2016 — Coal Transition and Clean Electricity Plan replacing dirty coal by 2030;

• 2019 — a phase out of dirty diesel high-polluting engines;

• 2021 — 100% Clean Energy for All bill, which sets a path to 100% clean electricity by 2040.

That's just the beginning. I have confidence, after looking at Tina's platform for governor, that she will continue building on Oregon's progress in moving forward on clean air, clean water, clean energy, and a healthy environment.

For those who want "fresh blood" in leadership, set that aside. When your brain tumor is growing rapidly (in Oregon's case, it's climate challenges), do you want a first-year resident doing your surgery?

The choice is clear.

Helen Krieger, Hillsboro

Difficult times call for strong leaders

As a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, I understand how important it is to know and work with people you can count on, and I am glad to have found that person in Washington County chair, Kathryn Harrington.

Since the start of her first term in 2018, Kathryn and I have worked together on addressing the issues that impact our community, including land use, green waste, transportation, and housing. While working with her, I noticed the fresh perspective she brought to the role and her commitment to moving the county forward.

Kathryn is driven and dedicated to strengthening our future and lifting up all members of our community. She has made working families a priority and is focused on providing the support they need to thrive, including fighting for affordable childcare and universal preschool. And through her leadership, Washington County passed a historic resolution to help advance racial equity and create a more inclusive community.

What makes a good leader is how they confront a crisis. I was proud to live in a county where Kathryn helped facilitate the highest vaccination rate in the state. Earlier this year, Washington County was recognized as a national leader for its pandemic response and effective use of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Kathryn stepped up to be the leader we needed to keep our families safe and keep our communities from collapsing.

Kathryn's hard work and results speak for themselves, but I am proud to share my support for her re-election. In these challenging times, Washington County needs a strong chair. We need Kathryn Harrington.

Susan McLain

State Representative, House District 29

Kotek has strong record on education

As an Oregon high school student, I am supporting Tina Kotek's gubernatorial campaign because of her proven record of fighting for students across Oregon.

During her time as a state representative, and then as the speaker of the House, Tina has shown her commitment to advancing the needs of Oregon students. As speaker of the House, Tina successfully negotiated the passage of the Student Success Act, a big victory after decades of inaction in Salem. The act invested $1 billion in Oregon's preK-12 education system and focused on closing gaps to early childhood education for children around the state, reducing academic disparities, meeting student's mental health needs, increasing access to support services for underserved communities, and other investments to get Oregon students on track to graduate. Under Tina's leadership, Oregon has expanded college financial assistance through the Oregon Opportunity Grant, secured $250 million to support summer learning to help students recover from COVID-19, worked to correct disparities facing minorities in early learning, and expanded access to financial aid for Oregon's Dreamers. I am confident that as governor, Tina Kotek will continue to be a champion for Oregon students. Vote Tina Kotek for governor in the May 17 primary.

Ben Wieser, Cedar Mill

Hutzler stands for good government

The other day, a neighbor asked me who I was voting for in the upcoming election. I rattled off a few names, and when I got to John Hutzler, she said, "Who?" I said John Hutzler, the county auditor. I know John and he has always answered my questions in a way that has been clear and concise." John's proven analytical approach has been key to his success as auditor since 2011. He has a law degree, undergraduate degrees in psychology and mathematics that make him uniquely qualified to analyze a wide range of programs that include healthcare, housing, banking, the court system, cybersecurity and construction. During his 11 years of service, John has demonstrated how government can be transparent and accountable to taxpayers. Please join me in voting for John Hutzler on May 17. Michele Wise, Beaverton

Decker is pro-choice candidate for DA

The leak of a draft majority opinion stating, "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start" and, "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," is heartbreaking, but not surprising to advocates who have known this was always the end goal for anti-abortion extremists.

While abortion remains legal nationally today, the fight for abortion rights is heading to the states, giving us all the opportunity to step up in our communities.

Local elections have taken on new urgency. And there's an immediate, concrete step you can take today: voting for pro-choice candidates running up and down the ballot. In Washington County, vote for Brian Decker, the only pro-choice candidate running for district attorney.

Decker is endorsed by Pro-Choice Oregon PAC because he has committed that as district attorney, pregnant people will never be charged for obtaining abortion care — or experiencing miscarriage.

Last month, a Texas woman in the Rio Grande Valley who experienced a miscarriage was erroneously charged with murder by a district attorney. If elected, Decker will protect the bodily autonomy of county residents, and will not prosecute the partners, friends, or providers helping patients access care.

As states pass laws that criminalize abortion and the people receiving, providing or supporting care, a DA has the authority to decide against criminal or civil charges. The office is essential for protecting the rights of pregnant people. That's why Pro-Choice Oregon PAC carefully vets candidates before we make endorsements.

When invited to participate in our endorsement process this year, incumbent Kevin Barton flatly declined, saying, "As DA, I am focusing my endorsements on organizations in the public safety realm." In a recent radio interview, he dismissively quipped, "What in the world does 'pro-choice' have to do with the work of a DA? Absolutely nothing."

He's wrong, of course. The "Wade" in Roe v. Wade was Henry Wade, the district attorney for Dallas County in Texas. Wade was enforcing a ban on abortion, and it took a groundbreaking lawsuit against his office to win the freedoms outlined in Roe.

Exercising reproductive justice is very much a public safety issue, as extremists continue to intimidate and threaten people seeking reproductive care. Just last year, a group of Proud Boys brought guns and baseball bats to protest outside of Planned Parenthood in Salem, and a violent clash ensued. We need our elected leaders to stand up and prosecute those who wish to cause violence.

Decker has said publicly he is prepared to prosecute any violent extremists who use the Supreme Court news to re-energize threats against patients and abortion providers. Getting an abortion is a personal, protected right in Oregon, and no one should fear for their safety because of medical decisions they make for their own body.

Barton has promised "more of the same" if re-elected. More of the same is exactly why we are seeing our constitutional rights crumble. Instead, let's vote for change and elect Brian Decker as Washington County's next district attorney.

Christel Allen

Executive Director, Pro-Choice Oregon PAC

Hutzler dedicated to public service

I am one of many enthusiastic supporters of John Hutzler's re-election as Washington County auditor.

We know him as a dedicated public servant who applies his keen analytic skills to hold government agencies and programs accountable for their use of taxpayer dollars. We also know him as a person of integrity who adheres rigorously to the core standards of his audit profession — objectivity, data-driven assessment, and independent advocacy for improving government effectiveness.

Without John's detailed audit reporting and persistent follow-up, Washington County would still be saddled with a jail healthcare provider whose systematic negligence caused the death of a vulnerable detainee.

We know John as a compassionate and energetic person who is able to persuade and encourage Washington County government to do its best for all citizens of our county. We must re-elect John Hutzler as Washington County auditor to ensure our continued progress toward an equitable and sustainable future.

Teri Martin, Bethany

There's a better way forward for DA

At a time when our communities feel beset upon by addiction, homelessness, mental health issues and conflict, and when our children and families struggle with stress, anxiety and not feeling heard, the Restorative Justice Coalition of Oregon feels compelled to advocate for a new vision of justice and the leadership that can take us there.

Too often, our justice system fails victims while doing nothing to truly ensure perpetrators are held accountable and don't go on to cause more harm.

In Washington County, this has been particularly true for women victims of sexual assault. This is apparent in the district attorney's refusal to file charges against the nurse at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility who victimized numerous women by subjecting them to sexual assault. This is also apparent in the district attorney's practice of filing contempt charges against victims who choose not to engage in prosecution.

But this is a trend, an outcome, of the current system that we see repeated across many crime types and many causes of harm in our communities. It is our hope that these practices will change and with the Washington County district attorney's race happening this month, we encourage voters to demand better.

There are better ways of serving victims, and there are good people who can lead us there. There are many forms of restorative justice that focus on healing communities, keeping children and families safe, ensuring those responsible for harm can be accountable for their actions while putting in place structures and supports that are responsive to their humanity and that better ensure they don't offend again.

Washington County, indeed all of Oregon, deserves better justice. Our communities, our families and our children deserve better. And victims deserve a whole lot more.

Simon Fulford

President, Restorative Justice Coalition of Oregon

Hutzler the one to trust in auditor's race

John Hutzler has been an outstanding county auditor for the past 12 years.

As a former government auditing supervisor, I know this job requires complex accounting and simple truth, with no bending one way or the other. John's worked well with both Republican and Democrat county commissioners and has kept the office focused on the technical issues in question.

Will you vote for someone who is an unknown in this important work, or someone who has already proved themselves?

John has the experience and education to continue this important work. He's the official we already know and trust. Just look at his endorsers to see all the others that do too!

Wynne Wakkila, Bull Mountain

Sheriff's Office needs support to serve unincorporated areas

As a decades-long resident of Washington County's Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District (ESPD), I urge my neighbors and fellow residents to join me in voting yes on Measure 34-310.

Since 1987, the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District has provided high levels of public safety service to those of us who live in urban unincorporated areas of the County. This includes the communities of Cedar Mill, Bull Mountain, Bethany, Aloha, Cedar Hills, Rock Creek, Metzger, Claremont, Garden Home, Raleigh Hills and more.

Measure 34-310 maintains the voter-approved funding we need to continue to have public safety service on par with those of neighboring cities, and to receive 9-1-1 emergency calls at less than half the time of the national average.

In addition, Measure 34-310 funds important services for a comprehensive public safety response — including the Mental Health Response Team, advanced training in crisis intervention and de-escalation, resources to address increased drug overdoses in our community, and helps deputies connect people experiencing homelessness with resources.

I know many of us love living in Washington County because of the safe communities we have. The funds from Measure 34-310 are critical to that. Please join me in voting yes on 34-310 by May 17!

Humberto Carlos, Cedar Mill


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