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Letters: Show support for Oregon immigrants
It was heartening to see Ramon Ramirez featured prominently in your story published about the opposition to Measure 105. Not only is he a hero in his own right, but he and all the folks who have created and maintained PCUN represent many generations of Oregon farmworkers since at least the 1940s who have worked hard and built this burgeoning agricultural economy we have today. They have all known firsthand the dangers of federal agents and local police teaming up for immigration raids and how necessary the sanctuary law is for keeping Oregon a welcoming place for all.
I spent 25 years working in education and development with immigrants. They are my friends, my students, my colleagues, my teachers. They have worked hard to make good lives for themselves and their children. And they deserve all the respect and dignity this state should afford them. At a time when it seems like civil rights are being rolled back all over the place, it's so important for us to soundly defeat Measure 105 at the ballot. Like Ramon said, I don't want to go back to the days where police demand someone's documents simply because of the way they look.
Protect sovereignty: yes on Measure 105
Many thanks for publishing Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin's spot-on commentary ("Measure 105 would restore respect for law," Sept. 20).
Oregon's sanctuary law, writes Sheriff Bergin, undermines respect for law by telling illegal immigrants "that Oregon considers immigration-law violations so inconsequential as to be unworthy of police and sheriffs' attention." He's right. How, indeed, can the existence of a sanctuary law do anything but attract illegal immigrants to our state?
The purpose of immigration law is to protect our nation's sovereignty— our right to self-determination as a free, autonomous people. That sovereignty is undermined when foreign peoples are permitted to violate that law on a routine basis. And it is undermined even more when state and local governments — like Oregon's — purposely thwart that law with policies that give safe haven to those who break it.
To conceal their unlawful presence, illegal immigrants routinely commit identity theft and other crimes that wreak havoc on innocent Oregonians — crimes, notes Sheriff Bergin, that "are well within local police and sheriffs' purview." But thanks to the sanctuary law, the very fact that illegal immigrants are here illegally is what can render them off-limits to further scrutiny. What kind of warped, Alice-in-Wonderland logic is this?
Restore respect for law, for sovereignty — and for sanity. Vote yes on Measure 105.
Richard F. LaMountain
Initiative system being abused
In Oregon, various special-interest groups have repeatedly abused this system of "direct democracy" to strip the rights and legal protections away from marginalized populations that happen to be unpopular at a given moment, be it gays or undocumented immigrants. This November, it's Measure 105, which seeks to repeal a 31-year-old state law that prevents one of the most egregious forms of racial profiling.
Here we go again. In the 1990s and early 2000s, it was about homosexuality. In 2002, a whopping 352,027 Oregonians voted against repealing an antiquated constitutional provision that barred African-Americans from living here. In 2014, a nativist group decided to turn a road-safety law into a referendum on undocumented immigrants.
In our republican form of government, there shouldn't be this sort of mob rule in which a privileged majority uses the ballots to oppress the marginalized, unpopular minorities.
Legislating by plebiscites is a reckless way of governing. Unlike the regular legislative procedure, the ballot measures lack deliberative steps. Furthermore, the governor has no power to veto a law enacted by a ballot measure, even if enforcing it can be detrimental or too costly to the state. Measure 105 is one of such poorly thought out initiatives, fueled by the far-right ideologues who think they can dupe low-info voters into supporting their xenophobic agenda.
Step up, Mayor Wheeler
I find it both magic and tragic that the owner of the Wapato Jail ... had to ... strongly suggest to Mayor Wheeler that he would demolish the boondoggle of a serious county mistake if the mayor wasn't willing to revisit the idea of turning it into a temporary shelter for the homeless, you know ... get them through fall and winter.
It's not easy being mayor.
He was likely on the phone, suddenly eager to hop aboard the bandwagon for the new interstate bridge. C'mon, Mayor Wheeler, you can't be all things to all people. Shouldn't the Big Bridge be a state issue? Perhaps Governor Brown might like to weigh in on it. I followed the shady history of the previous scandal-tarnished efforts to build the bridge. Something about a consulting firm? It is a serious engineering endeavor ... height considerations, etc.
A 10-point plan could be a 10-month plan. Everyone knows that shelter, food, clothing, shoes, cleanliness, health issues, access to social services, bus passes, basic counseling and ... good old encouragement are the keys. At least I do. Having experienced this malady.
So, hey Mayor Wheeler ... yes, you have to talk with Vancouver city officials . But I think you can be a hero, if you make that move to vanquish the albatross.
I find the bridge plans dripping with irony. I believe Washington officials were against it, originally. Now they want it.
Perhaps a mutual design team could offer up a better solution to not only the bridge, but homelessness as well.
Mark L. Brown
Buehler is a moderate
I met Knute Buehler in 2012, just before he ran for Secretary of State. I was impressed with him then, and continue to be impressed. Knute has moderate ideas, which represent ALL Oregonians, not just one party. That's why I'm supporting him for governor in November.
Knute appeals especially to people "in the middle", like me, people whose views are not represented by interest group politics. He is willing to break from his party if that's what he feels is necessary to get things done.
Knute Buehler's approach to politics is that he makes the lives of all Oregonians his priority. Each of his four plans so far — on education, healthcare, homelessness, and uniting Oregon — has stuck to the common theme of improving people's lives, in situations like Oregon's failing schools and increasing homeless population. Oregon needs better leadership on these issues.
I have never endorsed any candidate for any position. But I'm going to bat for Knute because he will work to represent all of the people of the state. At a time when politics is so polarized, Knute Buehler is the kind of governor we need in Oregon.
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