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Other letters in the News-Times include praise for Janeen Sollman, criticism of our headline writing and more.

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Former state rep backs Sollman for Senate

I am writing to you today to support the appointment of Rep. Janeen Sollman to fill the vacancy that will be left by Sen. Chuck Riley at the end of the year.

I served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2004 until my retirement in 2019. Part of that time was spent working alongside Rep. Sollman. We collaborated on several bills, but perhaps the most memorable was my ninth attempt to add the Oregon Volunteer Firefighters Association to the tax check-off so that taxpayers could contribute their refund to this group of courageous volunteers who serve their communities.

My husband, a fire chief for more than 20 years, died before seeing this completed, and it is thanks to Rep. Sollman who was with me all the way and helped to carry it over the finish line.

Rep. Sollman showed her leadership skills from the moment she took her oath. Her never-ending energy and commitment to her constituents and the citizens of Oregon never ceased to amaze me. She is very tuned into her district and understands the legislative process better than some long-timers. She has lived in Senate District 15 for nearly 30 years and has been active locally before joining the legislature. I believe she would be an excellent choice for this vacancy.

Deborah A. Boone, Hamlet

No more gas stations, period

The "Proposed Bethany gas station draws ire from neighbors" headline is appalling.

I should say it would "draw ire" from anyone alive in Oregon today.

Read our story on the gas station proposal, first published online Nov. 22, 2021.

We are on the brink of climate catastrophe, as is easily seen by the heat dome in June, the catastrophic ice storm in February, the years of severe drought and minimal snow pack. We should not be considering building another gas station, because we must leave oil in the ground.

If we don't change our ways quickly, and that means no more gas-guzzling vehicles, we will quickly be in a situation that will no longer seem reasonable to fix.

As a climate-conscious city, we cannot allow another gas station to be built anywhere. Citizens, stand together for your future, your children's future and our one and only earth.

Eileen Sleva, Hillsboro

Hopeful for the holidays

This holiday season is better than last year's. Having said that, I will add that saying this year is better than last year is akin to saying that getting fillings in your teeth is better than a root canal. With apologies to my dentist friends, both are unpleasant.

2021 has been a tough year. We have lost friends; we have suffered setbacks, personal, professional, and financial. And through it all, we complained, we groaned, we cried, "Unfair!"

And we were right. It was, and continues to be, unfair.

But, it was also a year that we began to dig our way out of this pandemic morass. We got back into school. We were able to meet face-to-face, albeit with masks. We reopened many of our shuttered businesses. We attended concerts, athletic events, and social gatherings.

We aren't out of the woods, yet. But perhaps we can see the clearing through the branches.

2022 may allow us to travel more, visiting family and friends that we haven't seen, maybe getting a chance to see that year-old niece or nephew whose birth we missed. We might be able to take that postponed trip to the Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone, or the Florida Keys.

But, we can't throw caution to the winds. Remember, there are 22 more letters to that Greek alphabet, and we don't want to give anyone the excuse to use any more. Wash your hands, wear your mask, and, if at all possible, get vaccinated.

I want to wish all of you the best, say to you Timber fans, "Wait 'til next year," and echo all our hopes that 2022 brings more life and light into our lives.

May you have a joyous holiday season, and Happy New Year!

Pete Truax

Mayor, Forest Grove

Sollman's service suits Senate

I first met Janeen Sollman this past year while serving together on the board of directors for the Family Justice Center. I was immediately drawn in by her enthusiasm to help her community, compassion for others, empathy for survivors, and boundless energy at all the events we supported together.

But, what connects me to Janeen the most is that she truly cares and has a fighting spirit.

Janeen has been an integral part of the success and growth of the FJC. As our state representative, I consistently see her out connecting with the community. From what I have seen, I truly believe that Janeen is prepared to take on the appointment to Senate District 15.

Being our senator is a crucial role, and one that Janeen doesn't take lightly. Her experience, drive, strong community connection and a true understanding of the issues our community is facing make her my candidate of choice.

I am proud to support and endorse Janeen Sollman for the appointment to Senate District 15. I hope our other community partners in the district will do the same.

Danielle Fage, North Plains

Big money for military, but not to Build Back Better?

I'm in my late 20s, with a background in environmental science and policy.

Watching the current discourse on how spending for the Build Back Better Act is too high, while the Pentagon's annual budget is twice the amount proposed for Build Back Better, is mind-boggling. Especially while we are standing on the precipice of disaster.

I understand the initial sticker shock; Build Back Better will cost $3.5 trillion. But over a 10-year period, this is $350 billion annually. The National Defense Authorization Act was $768 billion this year alone. Why do we scoff at the price tag of investing in our and our planet's future, but don't give a second glance to spending twice that much on death and destruction?

Whether or not you support Build Back Better, I ask you to seriously question why the Defense Department needs $768 billion when we have people across the nation sleeping in tents, or on the verge of being evicted, or freezing because they cannot afford their utilities. Let's ask our elected officials to pass laws that invest in our country's citizens, not wage destruction.

Georgia Davis, Hillsboro

'Vaccine passports' are discriminatory

In response to opinion "Private-sector COVID mandates deserve praise," I point out that you are praising the breaking of several federal and state laws with respect to places of public accommodation.

Read our Dec. 15, 2021, editorial in praise of businesses that go beyond state requirements for COVID-19.

Any requirement for a vaccine passport is illegal under U.S. Title 52, Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on a perceived medical condition, disability or religious views. It is a violation of the Fourth Amendment right to privacy to require documentation of vaccination status. It is unlawful to deny entry to persons with disability or perceived medical condition under U.S. Title 42, Section 12101.

Under 2020 ORS 659A.403, "all persons … are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges … without any distinction … or restriction."

You cannot discriminate based on a perceived medical condition, disability or religious views. Attempting to prevent entry, restrict, detain or confine without consent based on a medical condition is "involuntary servitude" in the first degree under 2020 ORS 163.264, a Class B felony with the penalty of up to 10 years in jail and/or up to $250,000 fine.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture. Any mandate requiring a vaccine passport in a place of public accommodation violates at least five federal laws and 13 Oregon state laws. It might be better to find something legal to praise.

Paul Johnson, Blooming

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