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Readers weigh in on issues ranging from PERS to state foster care, from dangerous intersections to legislators who got it right

Return Rierson and Loving to the park district board of directors

To the editor:

During my tenure as a Newberg city councilor I worked with the Chehalem Park and Recreation District board of directors in support of numerous parks and recreation projects.

I am writing because of my continuing support of the district and their current directors. Don Loving and Bart Rierson not only attend park board meetings, but are also involved in the community. In fact, the success of the many park and recreation projects is due to the involvement they foster by members of the community.

They listen and invite the community to participate to ensure the district serves the many needs of the citizens. The new swim center is an amazing accomplishment. But they would be the first to credit community action by citizens as the key to getting this accomplishment done.

It is because of their support that we have such an incredible parks and recreation system. I urge voters to show their appreciation on election day by voting them back in so they can continue their work on behalf of the citizens.

Scott Essin, Newberg

Understanding the PERS debate

To the editor:

Why is the Oregon PERS system always under attack? I don't think people realize the number of significant changes that have already been made to the Public Employees Retirement System over the years. And still our public employees continue to bear the burden of the blame for insufficient funding for our public services.

I'm not sure people understand the number of times our teachers and other public employees sacrificed their salary to protect programs that students, patients, disabled persons and we the people rely upon. In place of a salary increase, these unselfish workers deferred their raise until their retirement … all for the sake of ensuring that our schools, police force, care centers, parks and libraries, fire departments, roads and bridges and many other public services would have enough money to survive another year or two. It has been incredibly unfair to blame these dedicated employees!

Regarding our public schools, we must not overlook 1990's Ballot Measure 5, an initiative passed by Oregon voters which fundamentally changed Oregon's property tax and public-school funding systems. Essentially, the passage of this initiative made Oregon's public-school system primarily dependent upon state general revenues controlled by the Legislature rather than local school boards.

And now finally, after 30 years of our schools struggling for crucial funds, the Legislature passed House Bill 2019, the "Student Success Act," which will bring nearly $2 billion a biennium into our public-school system. A small number of Oregon businesses will now invest a share of their profits in our students' future, helping to reduce class sizes, strengthen critical programs and hopefully increase instructional assistants and counselors.

Then maybe, just maybe, we will change our focus from constantly complaining about PERS to using our time and energy more wisely by ensuring that this new source of funding remains secure.

Liz Marlia-Stein,

McMinnville

Legislators representing county did the right thing

To the editor:

Since September of last year I have been carefully crafting foster care reform legislation to include the tracking of every single child on one or more psychiatric drugs. This is currently not being done.

Additionally, I submitted several bills that would require the Oregon Health Authority to provide better means for parents to get informed consent on medical procedures for their children. Sadly, several months ago state Rep. Cheri Helt, working behind the scenes with Democratic state Sen. Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward, introduced House Bill 3063 based on four cases of measles at that time, a bill that would completely remove all exemptions for vaccines. HB 3063 completely usurped my unpaid foster care advocacy and legislation. Oregon Department of Human Services is being hit with a class action lawsuit and Democratic legislators (save for state Rep. Tawna Sanchez) refused to focus on the elephant in the room: foster care. Instead they forced and ramrodded through legislation based on false stats and media hype.

In Yamhill County this would have impacted 600 students in private schools and 484 in public schools who would be kicked out. This legislation would have also left up to 100 special needs toddlers and K-12 students without their speech, occupational or developmental therapy. Students missing one of 22 vaccines would not be allowed in school.

For the most part this legislation was pretty much down party lines with Democrats being the biggest supporters. In our county these elected officials and legislators voted against and pushed to kill this legislation, they deserve a huge pat on the back: Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett; state Reps. Ron Noble, Mike Nearman and Ron Noble; state Sen. Brian Boquist.

They worked hard to allow children of all races, creed, religion and medical status to stay in school. Our foster care has yet to be made a priority this session.

Brittany Ruiz, McMinnville

Sign creates a dangerous intersection on Villa Road

To the editor:

Drivers of the Villa Road and Haworth Avenue intersection by the pool, this is information for you to file away. The Chehalem Park and Recreation District has a new sign located just south of this intersection that tends to block drivers' vision of oncoming cars from the south. It is most definitely in the wrong location and too large as well. And it's right behind a tree, which doesn't help.

Don't get me wrong on this, thinking I am complaining about the CPRD here. No, in fact, they did what they were supposed to do and it all went through the city of Newberg's planning department for approval. Yes, the city approved a sign that was too large for the area. Yes, the city approved of a sign that is elevated on a raised bed, adding almost two feet to the height. Yes, the city approved all of this in what the city code calls a vision triangle clearance ordinance to be found at https://bit.ly/2Vwuc6y.

The city has tried to correct this blunder with a cover-up by passing by a director's order what they call an adjustment to the code under ADJC19-0001 and attaching a sign permit number 18-0004 to it. What this does is say, yes it is wrong , but it can stay there, since they screwed up and missed their own code.

The reason for this letter is to let anyone who has an accident at that location know who is really to blame for your lack of vision to the south for oncoming cars. So please file this note away for anyone that has any unfortunate damages at that intersection.

Roger Currier, Newberg


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