Letters to the editor
Walker faces conflicts of interest
Kathleen Walker is running for Sandy City Council Position No. 4. While I am sure she has the best of intentions in mind, she would have to recuse herself from many important council decisions and votes due to the fact that her husband is the head of the city's Public Works Department. The Oregon Ethics Commission has rules regarding conflict of interest and nepotism.
These rules would render her ineffective in many aspects of City Council. She would not be able to vote on the Public Works budget nor many other areas of the city budget. She would not be able to vote on personnel or salary issues that affect the Public Works Department.
Many of the issues that she is claiming she is running for, like residential development and parks, include input and oversight from the Public Works department.
The city is taking on a massive infrastructure project, updating its wastewater treatment. The wastewater facility is part of Public Works, as are streets and parks and building maintenance. While I commend Kathleen Walker for her interest in local government, I do not see how she could possibly be an effective member of council.
Williams demonstrates her commitment
What we need from our local politicians in these challenging times is the ability to listen to us, the humility to learn from us and the tenacity to act on our behalf and in our best interests.
Anna Williams has demonstrated her commitment to her constituency in all three of those ways. Most significantly, and most recently, Anna has been a ferocious advocate for people who were not getting their unemployment claims.
Her office hounded Oregon Employment Department for updates on the status of House District 52 constituents' claims, and strongly pressured the agency to reach out to unemployed workers who had been waiting for weeks and sometimes months for relief.
Her staff fielded daily calls and emails from out-of-work HD 52 citizens who still hadn't received a single check after months of waiting. Williams regularly reminded Oregon Employment Department that their delays have left dozens, if not hundreds, of families in our community in a desperate financial situation.
The daily, if not hourly pressure that she and other legislators put on the governor and the state made a big difference to our neighbors in serious need.
Williams listened, she understood, and she took action that impacted a governmental system that was so broken it wasn't doing what it was supposed to do.
Regardless of your party or affiliation, I strongly urge you to vote for Anna Williams. She will respond to your needs with action — not just words.
Elect Mark Shull to ClackCo commission
Have you noticed that Clackamas County operates as if it owns our land? It's been said that government should be run like a business, but Clackamas County has gone too far.
Through zoning ordinances and codes, it has made it virtually impossible for landowners to develop their land, or to use their land to provide for themselves, their families or their community members.
Clackamas County's motives are to limit the supply of real estate on the market, so that higher prices can be achieved, and therefore higher property values for property tax collections.
Higher property tax revenues mean more new cars and trucks, more lavish buildings — like the palace the county built at 150 Beaver Creek Road in Oregon City — and of course, more high-paying jobs. The blame for all of this lies squarley with five people — the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners.
We know the winners, but let's take a look at the list of losers in this situation:
• Every one who pays property taxes in the county is being ripped off through premeditated market manipulation.
• Everyone in the county — including landowners — who is seeking affordable housing.
• The people experiencing homelessness.
• The people residing in the cities that are beleagured by homelessness.
With a severe shortage of housing, the COVID-19 pandemic and the wildfires, thousands of Oregonians will be without a place to live. Can we get a break from the county commissioners? Not a chance.
So I am asking you to join with me and vote to elect Mark Shull to the Clackamas County Commission.
The California approach will never work for us. We reserve the right to take care of our ourselves, families and each other as we have always done.
Clackamas County commissioners must change zoning ordinances and codes, or we must change the county commissioners.
Please vote for Mark Shull, an Oregonian, to be our Clackamas County commissioner.
Your vote can protect Gresham
The political upheaval in Gresham has left us with two starkly contrasting paths ahead. There is a faction of candidates for city office who would like Gresham to devolve to nothing more than a neighborhood of Portland. They support the tactics of Black Lives Matter and Antifa. They question the successful work that Gresham has done to help the homeless. They seek to undermine our police. They mock our small-city identity. And some of them have received large contributions from out-of-state partisan organizations.
And, they are likely to vote as a bloc to transform the city to meet their activist agendas.
Fortunately, other candidates have stepped up to represent the citizens who simply want a good city in which to live and a safe and pleasant place to raise children.
If you want police to be available when you call 911; if you want to continue to go to a Gresham park or trail without encountering homeless camps and piles of garbage; if you want the homeless to be connected with the help they need rather than left to live in the bushes; if you value our historic downtown and want it spared from riots and vandalism; and if you value having a separate identity from Portland and want truly local government by truly local citizens, then you have great options: please vote for the following candidates: Joe Demers for mayor; Sue Piazza for Position 5 on the City Council; Jerry Hinton for Position No. 1; and Raymond Love for Position 3.
Keep campaign signs legal
As a real estate professional, I more than others, understand the importance of the codes and safety regulations that we all must adhere to within our city. Therefore, it is concerning to me that people running for public office, especially for the position of City Council or mayor, would not adhere to the sign ordinances for such activities.
Rules and regulations cannot only be adhered to when it is convenient, they must be enforced with an even hand each and every day. Political signs should not be in the "right of way — includes planter strips which are the area, excluding sidewalk, beginning at the back of the curb or outside edge of the shoulder and extending to the property line, lying within the public right of way or on publicly owned property or in an easement."
Please join me in reporting signs that are located in such areas — call the city at 503-618-2463.
Institutional racism does exist
The murder of George Floyed spurred international criticism of law enforcement and calls for reform. Gresham is no exception. In my three years working with the city, I was a victim of the toxic culture of institutional racism that permeates throughout the Gresham Police Department and the dysfunctional city leadership that allows this abuse to happen.
Fortunately, this election we have the opportunity to vote for change. Elected in 2018, Councilor Eddy Morales unapologetically stands against racism in all its forms. Together, Eddy for Mayor and Vincent Jones-Dixon, Dave Dyk and Dina DiNucci for City Council will develop comprehensive police reform to eliminate the over-representation of Black, Indigenous and people of color in the criminal justice system.
They will also ensure the following racist behaviors, that I have experienced or witnessed firsthand, are no longer tolerated:
• Exclusionary hiring practices.
• Jokes about murdered BIPoC youths.
• Calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization.
• Offensive representations of Mexican culture.
• Efforts to dismantle and undermine equity work.
• Disrespecting Black community leaders.
• Rejection of 21st Century Policing and reforms.
• Racist union endorsements.
• Supporting racist organizations.
• Fear tactics to manipulate public opinion.
• Targeting and intimidating public officials.
With your vote, change is possible. Black Lives Matter.
Elect Piazza to Gresham council
Our community is not Portland and more and more I am grateful for that. This year, we are truly blessed to have some high quality candidates running for City Council, none more qualified than Sue Piazza.
Her years of serving the community is well documented for any who do their research. In addition, she has the values that will benefit this community going forward — always respectful and looking for unique solutions to the problems facing our community.
In particular, she is a supporter of community safety and will use her position to ensure that all of us will enjoy a safe, prosperous, inclusive community in the future. I am sure that is why the police and fire departments have both endorsed her.
Her dedication to children will make her a tireless proponent of finding ways to have parks and recreation through public/private partnerships, that will help us have quality services for our citizens without adding huge tax burdens.
She is committed to doing more with less and that is why I humbly ask you to join me in voting for Sue Piazza for Gresham Council Position 5.
Piazza will lift up our community
My life started in a large Hispanic family in very humble surroundings. As hardworking, law-abiding citizens my seven brothers and sisters have all gone on to have successful and fulfilling lives.
None of us were afforded the luxury of a college education, but that did not deter us from taking care of our families and our neighbors.
As an adult, I have always tried to give back. I was in Gresham's first CVIP Class (Community Volunteers in Policing) as a bilingual volunteer and saw firsthand what our police department has to cope with on a daily basis.
I deliver meals to seniors and read to elementary students in the new English/Spanish class at a local school. I see so much of myself in those young eyes.
When considering the Gresham City Council race I look to those who have demonstrated the care and desire to volunteer and to make a difference in our community.
Carrying a protest sign and calling all cops @#%&*$! does not lift up our community, it merely divides us and makes it more difficult to move forward. This is an agenda I cannot support.
My friend Sue Piazza is color blind and has alway looked for ways to help everyone. I encourage all who can to vote for Sue Piazza.
Anna Williams hurts rural economy
I write this letter to voters in House District 52 asking the question: Are you and your family better off now than you were two years ago?
When Anna Williams asked for our vote in 2018 she described herself as a "rural progressive." Now that she's been in office for two years, we have a better idea of what that means.
In spite of fierce opposition from businesses across Oregon, she voted for a billion-dollar tax on their sales. Guess whose pocket that affects? In spite of strong objections from our local farmers and the natural resource industry, she voted for Cap and Trade legislation (HB2020). Guess whose fuel and home utility bills increased?
Anna also voted to take away $108 million of our kicker tax refund (HB2975).
During special legislative sessions focusing on pandemic relief, she and her party refused to provide liability protections to businesses to shield them from frivolous COVID-related lawsuits.
There are literally thousands of COVID-related unemployed Oregonians who have still not been able to receive benefits. Are Williams and her party holding the Oregon Employment Department accountable for this malpractice?
She has remained silent while Kate Brown has sided with teacher unions, keeping our kids out of the classroom. Is this "lifting up" our families?
Add it all up. We can't afford another two years of this "rural progressive." That's why my family is voting for Jeff Helfrich.
Sue Piazza for City Council Position 5
Sue Piazza represents what our city of Gresham really needs during this time of turmoil. Sue grew up in our community, went to local schools, raised her sons here, is an entrepreneur who understands the plight of businesses, and perhaps most impressive of all, she has been a volunteer for our city for decades. Her service includes work for our Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation for our schools, fundraising for our local community hospital, decades of service through Rotary, she even invested a year of her leadership to raise $70,000 for six local charities to celebrate her 50th birthday. We both have served with Sue on the above boards and committees.
We have seen her in action. Sue does not just serve tirelessly. Sue leads. Sue gets results.
Sue supports our local police and fire services. Safety is vital in our community. She values business and will support businesses and job creation. We also heard Sue recently say that developing housing for young families outgrowing their starter home is one of her goals. She wants our friends, families and our children to continue living and thriving in Gresham.
Please join us in voting for Sue Piazza. This is a candidate we can genuinely be excited about supporting.
Mark and Debbie Eisenzimmer
owners, Cascade Athletic Clubs
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