Letters: Thomsen walkout violated oath of office
Plutarch wrote, "He who cheats on an oath acknowledges that he is afraid of his enemy, and he thinks little of God."
The framers of the Oregon Constitution wrote into law that any public servant of Oregon who does not abide by their oath of office operates outside the law.
Sen. Chuck Thomsen broke his oath to faithfully discharge his duties. We sent him to Salem to advocate for us and to bolster our democratic process. He chose, instead, to skip town when legislation he didn't like came to the Senate floor (during the February legislative session). He turned his back on his responsibilities, and let his community down.
Because of his actions, we're delaying resolution to the climate crisis. Thomsen also blocked critical legislation to protect health care, grow small businesses, strengthen schools and provide emergency housing funding.
We simply cannot afford to pay politicians who obstruct crucial legislation and who put publicity over public good. We cannot hope for our democratic institutions to thrive if our elected officials choose not to uphold the duty of their office.
I urge Senate District 26 voters in Gresham and elsewhere to sign the petition for recall at recallthomsen.com/thank-you and let Thomsen's voters decide whether we deserve better.
Many were hard-hit even before pandemic
From diabetes to hypertension and asthma, people of color have preexisting conditions that leave them at higher risk during health crises such as COVID-19 and the climate emergency.
Countless studies have been conducted proving this reality, but what's worse is knowing how long this fact has been apparent in our society and yet continues to go unresolved.
What this pandemic has done is exposed deep structural inequities among marginalized communities — many of whom are vulnerable to health issues regardless of how the rest of the world is doing. Imagine already having to worry about being able to breathe the air in your neighborhood, due to contaminants from polluting industries setting up shop in your community, and then being hit by news of a virus outbreak particularly more severe for individuals with breathing disabilities.
People of color are in double jeopardy because of the malice directed toward them by urban development and consistent environmental hazards creeping into their living spaces. Not only are these individuals more vulnerable, they're also less able to respond and cope with crises as many often are uninsured.
The truth is, COVID-19 isn't the only crisis we're facing and it hasn't been easy for Oregonians on the frontlines. We're seeing record-breaking wildfires destroying our forests and snowpack melting at alarming rates, leaving reservoirs dismal and tribal communities dependent on water systems and its resources in distress. News like this is heartbreaking considering the loss of culturally important species, such as salmon, making it difficult for tribal elders to pass their history on to future generations.
So for their sake, for those who are the first to suffer despite being the least responsible, let's work together to uplift their voices and demand change.
Mike Schmidt is right choice in DA's race
I am a 44-year old Multnomah County resident who has missed one local election since 1996. I have voted for countless school board members, legislators, city councilors, governors, presidents and even judges.
The one race I have never had a choice on: district attorney. For my adult lifetime, and beyond, there was someone named Schrunk as the Multnomah County DA or the person he hand-picked to replace him.
This year is different and there is a real race. With a real, stark choice between candidates.
Last year I saw a blurb about a candidate, Mike Schmidt, who pledged to not seek the death penalty if elected to this role. That immediately drew my interest. When, after a deliberative process, our government doles out the same savage penalty that a person is being tried for, as a society we are no better than the murderer we intend to punish. As a society we should not kill others. Full stop.
A former prosecutor himself, Mike Schmidt has led the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission in recent years, working to "improve the legitimacy, efficiency and effectiveness of state and local criminal justice systems." Sounds like great experience to lead the office in which he once worked.
Schmidt's innovative views on justice go far beyond simply not using the death penalty. I've seen in our state how mandatory minimum sentencing can be used by prosecutors as a bludgeon. Families lose their breadwinners for months (when the bully district attorney scares young Oregonians into plea deals) or years when they (although likely they cannot afford proper legal representation) choose to fight their fates.
I believe in justice, to be sure. Heck, I am even a former Multnomah County Reserve Deputy Sheriff. However, mandatory sentences can outweigh the crime, tie the hands of elected judges and give DAs far too much power. Schmidt also is opposed to mandatory sentencing.
Just reading about Schmidt's candidacy, I've learned about other aspects of criminal justice reform that I was less familiar with. As a first time candidate, Schmidt is showing bravery in standing up for issues that may not poll as well. I am grateful he's willing to speak up for these issues that matter to marginalized Oregonians more negatively impacted by our justice system.
Ballots are out. Schmidt's opponent is endorsed by those who would prefer the status quo and promises more of the same old, same old. That's no longer acceptable. I hope you will join me in an enthusiastic vote for Mike Schmidt for Multnomah County District Attorney.
Metro's tax grab is poorly timed
Add it up. In the past 16 months we have been hit hard by new taxes, increased taxes and fees by Metro, Multnomah County and the state of Oregon.
But it's not enough for Metro. On the May ballot they want more in the shape of two new income taxes, one on business and one personal.
Never mind that private businesses have been left out of the language in the ordinance. Only public and nonprofits made the list. Never mind the lack of a plan of how the money will be used. Metro just wants the money now via your personal income taxes and then figure out how to spend it later.
Perhaps the Metro Council hasn't read a paper or watched TV for the past seven weeks. We are in an economic crisis. Your money grab for a new government program is not appropriate or appreciated at this time.
Your reputation as a government agency is being damaged by this unthoughtful and untimely action. I'm voting "no" on Measure 26-210.
Community should help businesses return to normal
I've lived in Lake Oswego for 27 years. I work in a long-established Lake Oswego hair salon called Salon LaVonne. We've serviced Lake Oswego residents since 1995.
On March 23, by order of Gov. Kate Brown and COVID-19, 13 female independent contractors were stopped from earning any money for their families. We've received no money from (the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program), stimulus, unemployment or the Lake Oswego COVID grant program. Now we face costly measures to get our salon ready to continue all "measures" to keep us and our clients safe.
Although desperate for the important services we provide (for both personal and mental well-being), we need our clients to feel safe at all costs and actually sit in our chairs. These costs have no end in sight.
I'm asking my community to please step in and help us get the salon ready with deep salon sanitation, sprayers, plexiglass, masks, sanitizers, capes, wipes, gowns, etc. These things have become very difficult to find and we need them. I speak for all small businesses who actually touch people. We are all desperate to work. And our community needs us.
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