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This week, we got letters about criminal justice report, the Hillsboro School Board race and a proposed cigar tax.

Legislators should back criminal justice reform

I am writing to encourage readers to vote yes on Senate Bill 1008.

This bill would allow youth to be placed in the youth justice system rather than in the adult justice system. Many studies show that youth who are placed in the adult system are much more likely to be repeat offenders.

Like most Oregonians, I believe our youth justice system should focus on rehabilitation and prevention in order for these youth to be productive members of society. This is how we can keep our communities safer.

Please vote for SB 1008.

Monique Grindell, Hillsboro


Rask is community-minded choice for School Board

My wife and I support Bart Rask for Hillsboro School Board Position 4.

Bart has given his life works to helping the Hillsboro area in many ways. He has been the team doctor for the Hillsboro High School sports program for many years. His devotion to the Hillsboro community is second to none. He finds ways to be of service for the community he lives in.

Finding ways to help and not making excuses has been the foundation for Bart. You have to look no further then his orthopedic practice in Hillsboro. His walls are covered with pictures of the people he has taken care of in and around the Hillsboro area.

Bart has a huge heart with kids at the forefront. He has adopted kids to give them a great home and foundation to have success in life.

I have known Bart for 20 plus years and I can say he will be the best person for the position. He will try to use every resource to make it better for the kids and community of Hillsboro.

Bart has made it his life mission to be of service to kids and community. Please make your vote for Bart Rask — your kid will thank you.

Christopher Stipe, Beaverton

Teenagers should have life experience before voting

Regarding Bev Walker's comments in her letter in the April 24, 2019, edition of the News-Times:

That some young people have shown exceptional ability through the years is not sufficient justification to grant the right to vote to all 16-year-olds.

There are very few 16-year-olds that have enough real-world experience to weigh in on matters they might vote on. Young people don't pay the bills (rent, utilities, food, insurance, medical...), they don't earn the money, they don't have responsibility for anything of significance. Let them wait until they have done such things for a few years so they know more about what they'll be voting for. Otherwise they are very likely to vote in a bloc for whatever cause their favorite teacher (or other influential adult) advocates for.

On that note, an ill-considered bill (H.R. 1) has passed the Democratically controlled House in Congress, which sets the stage for lowering the voting age (by encouraging registration of people as young as 16, prior to being able to vote at 18). This appears to be yet another ploy to skew voting blocks toward liberal causes.

Harold Hutchison, Forest Grove


Kim is well-qualified choice for Hillsboro School Board

I am writing to show my support for See Eun Kim for Hillsboro School Board.

As a resident of Hillsboro for nearly 20 years and as a parent of a student in the Hillsboro School District, I feel strongly that See Eun Kim is an excellent choice for Hillsboro School Board. She is the only candidate who has teaching experience. As a current teacher, I recognize this value as she will have insight into schools that many other do not. She knows firsthand what needs to be done to facilitate the best student outcome.

See Eun Kim is currently a Hillsboro School District volunteer and sees how our classrooms are affected by size. She is directly aware of the challenges facing our district and will strive to ensure our students take top priority.

Additionally, Hillsboro is a very diverse city and its schools reflect this same diversity. See Eun Kim will be a role model for our children and especially our children of color. It is important to have our School Board begin to reflect the demographics of our city.

See Eun Kim has my vote and I encourage you to vote for her as well!

Erika Probst, Hillsboro

Rask has shown his commitment to Hillsboro schools

Bart Rask is running for the Hillsboro School Board Position 4.

I want to express my deep support for Bart Rask. The fact that his 6 children are in the Hillsboro School District gives me the faith in him that he will do what is best for our children as well.

He has been the Hillsboro High School team physician for 21 years, showing his dedication to our kids in our district.

I look forward to seeing more of what Bart Rask can do for our community! Thank you.

Melissa Haaheim, Hillsboro


We need the truth about vaccine-related injuries

Did you know that doctors are mandatory reporters? That means that they must report abuse or face losing their license, yet doctors have no mandate to report vaccine adverse event reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reaction System (VAERS) and usually do not, as was the case with my daughter back in 2009, when I reported to my daughters' pediatrician the adverse reaction my daughter had to multiple vaccines given at one time.

I didn't even know that VAERS existed. There was no literature given or poster on the wall like there is for patients rights.

Oregon should definitely have a law that mandates anyone approved to give a vaccine should have to hand out literature and have posters posted about VAERS and mandate that every and all vaccine adverse reactions be reported to VAERS, as well as Oregon having its own system in place for keeping this vital information. After all since 1986, federal law prohibits anyone hurt or killed by vaccines from seeking damages from vaccine manufacturers. Vaccine manufacturers have a blank check and zero liability when it comes to this pharmaceutical medical procedure — that's crazy.

It's been 33 years and we don't have an inkling about this vital information because no one has to mandatorily report vaccine adverse reactions, better known as injuries. No on House Bill 3063.

Holly Garland, Hillsboro

Lots of energy in Tualatin Hills parks special district race

As of April 25, I have knocked on 750 doors for three outstanding Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District (THPRD) candidates — Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg, Heidi Edwards and Tya Ping.

Voters are often unfamiliar with how the parks district is governed; they have no idea that the board of directors are elected to these positions. They are surprised to learn just how big the budget is (over $60 million!), how many people the district serves (over 280,000), that two of the current board members were appointed (not elected), and two others have never been challenged at reelection.

This year, 10 candidates are running for four spots on the board of the state's largest parks special district.

I have canvassed weekly to share these candidates' innovative strategies to create meaningful partnerships that will serve our entire community. To date, volunteers have knocked on over 6,000 doors. I can't think of a larger grassroots campaign for a local office in recent memory — a testament to the commitment of these leaders to the health and well-being of our community.

This May, I hope you will join me in voting for these fresh new voices — Ashley, Heidi and Tya for THPRD.

Diane Doctor, Garden Home

Former Century football coach endorses Rask for School Board

Vote Bart Rask for Hillsboro School Board!

As a longtime teacher/coach for the Hillsboro School district, I strongly support Bart Rask for Hillsboro School Board.

I have known Dr. Rask for many years. He has been a regular on the sidelines of athletic events where he volunteers his expertise as an orthopedic surgeon. I have also talked extensively with Dr. Rask about our schools and know that he is very committed to excellence in education.

Vote for excellence. Dr. Rask is a man of integrity, one who will bring an abundance of educational experience, a wealth of knowledge, a life of compassion to our school board. I truly believe our schools will benefit greatly with the addition of Dr. Rask to Position 4.

Vote for excellence, vote for our kids, vote for Dr. Rask!

Bill Smith, Aloha


Don't slap premium cigars with new tax

I wish to address some serious issues with the Legislature's current plan to raise taxes on premium cigars in an effort to curb cigar consumption and fund Oregon's Health Plan.

I can't stress enough that premium cigars are not cigarettes. Yes, both contain tobacco. However, both do not contain the same tobacco plant contents. This is important because the premium cigar is made from 100% organic plant with no additives and preservatives. Cigarettes are made from a non-organic plant and contain lots of additives and preservatives.

To break it down in simple terms — stating that premium cigars and cigarettes are the same in terms of usage, product ingredients and risk factors is the same as stating a bottle of water and a bottle of Coke are exactly the same.

A bigger issue is that if the 50-cent premium cigar cap is removed, it will simply drive cigar sales out of state into Washington or online sales. No change to product consumption will occur.

If there are significantly fewer sales in Oregon due to higher costs, this will have a negative impact on not only the Oregon Health Plan, but also those programs that are funded by these tax revenues — like the Tobacco Education Program.

With fewer funds for programs that work, Oregonians, especially kids, will be limited in the education that is vitally needed.

Don't make the mistake that premium cigars are equal to cigarettes in any way — they are not. By subjecting them to the same taking strategies, you impact more than Oregon's current shortfall of revenue without impacting consumption. You impact kids that will be more exposed to tobacco without the education of the risks.

I encourage you to write your legislature to express your concern on short-funding Oregon's tobacco programs.

John Hill, Oregon Cigar Association

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