No one right, or wrong, about Port Westward; Crab feed in the works for St. Helens Senior Center; Not a fan of 'unhinged' Trump cartoon; political division comes with the territory

No one right, or wrong, about Port Westward

It is very interesting to watch the debate about Port Westward and read the comments regarding the recent commissioners' votes. The issue really is about jobs and expanding the county tax base. My favorite saying is that there are 100 ways to do something and 97 of them are right.

Regarding Port Westward, my view makes me believe that everyone is right and everyone is wrong. This debate is what I call a "religious issue." No one really has a correct answer. It seems that most everyone has an intractable opinion. The situation does not have a correct answer. The good thing is that the debate brings to light many unresolved issues and, hopefully, the movers and shakers of our community can properly plan for the future.

I feel very good about the commissioners' vote, not because anyone was right, but because three good people lost lots of sleep and had lots of heartburn deciding how to vote.

Port Westward opposition has very little to do with dock access, jobs and farmland, but more to do with the fossil fuel and environment debate. Exploding trains, the river, the dock, the farms and jobs are only cannon fodder for some very self-righteous greenies.

My opinion is that fossil fuels will be around for a long time, and we should exploit those resources while we work on better alternatives. Solar and wind have base power load issues. Wind farms are as ugly and as hard on the environment as cars and coal plants. Electric car batteries pose an environmental threat, and Columbia County has more risk of the ammonia plant failing than an exploding train or spilled coal car.

The county likely has more risk of a semi-truck loaded with gas exploding than an exploding train. What I don't like about the trains is waiting at the crossings. Let the trains run, just fix the crossings so that I don't have to wait.

You may think I am a right-wing environment-denier because I do not worry about fossil fuels. I own stock in a geothermal power company because I think it is a responsible baseload alternative. The problem is that geothermal costs more to develop than gas, coal, wind or solar generators. I didn't give lip service to the issue; I have put money toward a solution.

If the greenies really want to do something righteous, they should focus on stopping the radiation leakage at the Hanford Site. They should also help create more jobs in Columbia County.

I suspect if the county had more jobs, we would have fewer homeless people. Believe me, a homeless encampment causes more environmental hazards than anyone can imagine.

Rory Hammond

Deer Island

Crab feed in the works for St. Helens Senior Center

The St. Helens Senior Center's annual crab feed will be on Saturday, Jan. 20. Last year we had to cancel the crab-feed because of problems during the crab season and the high cost of shelled crabmeat. It is beginning to look like a good crabbing season this year and we want to try our primary fundraiser again.

Tickets are $25 and are being sold at the St. Helens Senior Center on South 15th Street and at Top Notch Thrift Store on Columbia Boulevard. Remember, the crabmeat is fresh and already shelled.

We need the public's help. Net proceeds from this fundraiser go to our nutrition program of which the Meals on Wheels is a major component. Food prices continue to rise and it is also time to place a bulk order of Meals on Wheels containers to save on the overall price. We need $10,000 at the beginning of the year to replenish our supply and be ready to serve the almost 2,700 individuals each month.

Don't be fooled. The government through you, the taxpayers, contributes approximately $1 per eligible meal toward the cost of the meal. Many recipients throughout the years have thought our meals were free because the government pays for them. Not true! It is true we cannot turn away qualified seniors 60 years of age or older, but we could not continue to operate without donations from the people we feed and from individuals, community groups and businesses. Our food bill for one month usually runs $8,000 to $10,000.

To those who have supported us through the years, we offer our sincere gratitude and we ask others to consider our program as important as other food programs in the area, especially since we provide for older, disabled and often lonely individuals who need to feel the touch of love and friendship that our program and volunteers offer.

Cheryl Young


St. Helens Senior Center

Not a fan of 'unhinged' Trump cartoon

We just opened our Dec. 15 newspaper and were once again shocked and angered by the giant-size political cartoon by Mr. Mike Lucas.

We take your newspaper to be informed of local happenings, not to be slapped in the face with a cartoon so inappropriate.

You are assuming to know for a fact that our president is unhinged. He is not unhinged in the minds of many Columbia County voters, including ours, by any means. No more unhinged than the person who drew this stupid cartoon.

Would you use the words "unhinged" in your paper to talk about any local person, especially a person in a political office? I think not, or you would be sued.

My husband and I take the Spotlight because, except for a few other cartoons (of which we have voiced our opinion to you before), we enjoy reading about what is going on in Columbia County, Scappoose and St. Helens.  

These abusive, negative, nasty so-called cartoons are more typical of the Oregonian and Portland, not Scappoose.

We thought the Spotlight was above that sort of thing.

Continue this type of "Opinion" piece cartoons and we will find it difficult to continue supporting the Spotlight.

Mr. and Mrs.

William Thomas


Political division comes with the territory

As I read Mr. Joe Turner's comments in the letter section of The St. Helens Update and the Spotlight (see "Bridging the political divide," Dec. 8), I became concerned about his remarks regarding women and their doctors killing thousands over the last 45 years.

Prior to 1973, abortions were done quite regularly on all classes of women. Only rich women had secret access to doctors and hospitals/clinics where they received the best care. Only after 1973 were middle-class and low-income women provided the option to have an abortion in a clean environment and by a trained doctor. Prior to that, many women had to have an abortion in an alley with a coat hanger, or done by a self-proclaimed midwife, or old Aunt Nellie from down the road.

These unsterile procedures often killed the woman later due to infection, or they died from blood loss by the resident butcher. Whether you approve of an abortion or not, it is the right of a woman to make that decision, either independently or with the "father" of the fetus or offspring. You note that I did not call the fetus a baby because, at the time it is aborted, all it is a mass of mucus and blood and not yet a viable living thing outside of its host. I call the woman a "host"

because that is actually all she is.

Mr. Turner writes that the woman and her doctor has killed thousands. Well, what about the man who impregnated the woman? He is as responsible. It takes two to tango. Usually a woman has an abortion because the "man" refuses to take responsibility for his part in the conception of the fetus, often abandoning the female.

We can be grateful that there is a division between the two major political parties. It would be pretty bad if the entire country thought like the far-right, hide-behind-religion Republicans. As a woman, I would not want to regress to the ignorant Dark Ages when women were treated as property. I would not want to be under the control of ignorant old white men who think they can dictate to women, use a woman as they see fit, and then discard her like a piece of garbage. The "liberals," with whom you seem to have an issue, are the people who regard all people as equal, want all kids to have an education, want people to have the opportunity to have a job with a wage they can support a family on, have the ability to seek medical treatment when necessary, medical treatment they can afford, and also have a good retirement, just to list a few things the "liberal" set supports.

As for the partisan divide the country is in, you are correct there is a division between the haves, who have it all, and the have-nots, who are scrambling for scraps. With the new president we have scraps, which will become scarcer and scarcer and the poor will become poorer. More homelessness and more people dying because they can't afford medical attention. I'm sure you believe tax breaks for the top 1 percent always makes the country better, and those trickle-down economics have worked so well in the past for the middleclass and working poor.

What does this say about the greatest country in the world? The United States was a country where people could come and be safe from persecution because of their religious or political beliefs. A country where owning a home was the American Dream. Now that dream is unattainable for most people. It was a place where the man made enough wages and his wife could stay home and raise the kids. Not anymore. Both parents have to work in order to earn enough income to live, and our kids are raising themselves. Thanks to the Republicans and their ideologies.

All the people who do not like socialists and their programs need to stop for a moment and think what socialist programs they are benefiting from, and just which ones they would like to give up?

As for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, her actions were less than honorable and the Democratic National Committee got rid of her. As a Democrat, this is not to say I agree with everything the Democrats say or do, but I do not agree with the Republicans. Period.

It's odd how Mr. Turner feels that the liberals have taken over the education of our children. It was the Republicans who controlled the content of school books for decades. As for an alternative form of government, I quite can't grasp that one. Is it a different form of government if we treat all people the same? Or are we just following the Constitution?

Since when do we, as Americans, believe it is OK to be chastised for speaking out against wrongs, even if it is our own government and its actions? Being a common person or an elected official, it is our right to speak out against tyranny in all forms. Should we sit back and keep quiet if our elections are rigged? Should we allow treason and treasonous acts? Should we allow people to be shot and killed because of the color of their skin? Should we allow men in power or just ordinary men to be able to grope or rape women without any consequences? And a woman must keep quiet, because she needs her job. Is that what we are about? What else should we turn a blind eye


We, the people, are the government, and those elected to run the government answer to the people, not in reverse. If politicians and farmers alike did not speak out against the injustices brought forth by King George, we would still be under English rule.

Speaking out against the government should not be criticized, but commended, no matter what political party you belong to.

A democracy does not always run without friction; it is often a nasty business where all sides go at it — sometimes there is agreement, but mostly not. But then that is what keeps the democracy in some sort

of balance over a period of time.

I hope that America continues to progress and evolve, just as stated in Bob Dylan's iconic song, "The Times They Are A Changin.'"

Tammy Maygra

Deer Island

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