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Note from the editor about national commentary, reponses to Preheim's 'Facts Matter' letter

On letters about national topics

W e generally try to steer clear of national issues at the Spotlight. Our focus is Columbia County, principally Scappoose, St. Helens, Warren, Columbia City, Deer Island and parts of Sauvie Island.

As editor, I have routinely replied to letter writers who want to address matters of national, or global, importance: climate change, the Obama administration, the Trump administration, you name it. Sometimes they are insistent on voicing their opinions.

For a while I allowed it, believing opinions expressed on such topics are valuable and reflective of the community from which they originated.

Recently, given the incredible partisan division in our country, which also extends to state politics, I've attempted to exclude commentary that falls outside our focus. But I'm not perfect, and neither has been my effort to create a civil clearinghouse for dialogue.

The most recent chain of partisan wrangling originated from a letter penned by St. Helens' Brady Preheim on Oct. 5. The letter was fundamentally about the success of Spirit of Halloweentown in St. Helens and was titled "Let it go." The letter, which was lengthy, opened with a passing, analogous reference to the current impeachment inquiry and Preheim's appreciation for whistleblowers.

Kathleen Fisher of Scappoose responded to the passing reference to the Trump impeachment inquiry in the following week's letters (see "Despite whistleblowers, the bold plow forward," Oct. 25). As it was a response to an opinion we had printed, I allowed it.

That was a mistake, as the letter from Fisher, who at the time identified as the GOP communications director and has expressed an affinity for writing from a Trump-focused conservative viewpoint, devoted a considerable portion of her letter to defending Trump.

What transpired from there was a series of published commentary — including a response to Fisher from Garrett Lines (see "Concerning GOP talking points," Nov. 1) and an answering letter from Fisher (see "Beep! Beep!" Nov. 8) — that led to last week's letter from Preheim. Again, as it was a response piece to something we had printed, I allowed it.

That was also a mistake.

This week there are three response letters to Preheim. Those are being printed, and that's that. As far as I'm concerned, no more letters on national issues. In the end they are no better than social media bullying and further tear at the fabric of our broader American community. From my viewpoint, that fabric is pretty much in tatters and could use a little mending, not further fraying.

There are myriad, serious local issues, including those about local governance, that warrant our readers' attention: ongoing court cases about asbestos, a Portland Community College eminent domain case for land in Scappoose, 911 Communications elections, the St. Helens lagoon, an ethics probe in St. Helens, public records and meetings concerns at the Scappoose School Board, the health and wellbeing of our forests and streams, etc. Those topics, and much more, are covered in this publication on a weekly basis. And unlike the national issues, our readers can actually affect the course of those stories through their engagement.

If you, as a Spotlight reader, disagree with this direction and believe this is the correct forum for adding to the national hyper-partisan bickering, or have any other opinion about how we should focus our content, please let me know. I can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 503-543-6387.

— Darryl Swan, editor

Preheim's letter was bullying

Brady Preheim's Nov. 8 letter, "Facts Matter," called Kathy Fisher "a liar, an idiot or ignorant" then ordered her to "get off your couch, stop waving your flag, engage your brain, Google and read the memorandum."

Throughout his lengthy letter, he maligned her with multiple insults simply because she referred to the memorandum of President Donald Trump's telecom with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky as a "transcript" as reported by nearly all news outlets, including left leaning CNN.

Was Brady so moved by CNN's reporting that he contacted CNN to tell them they're ignorant?

Did Brady write a letter to the editor of The Oregonian newspaper to tell them they're ignorant for reporting the telecom as a transcript?

Preheim only challenged a woman. This bullying letter is blatantly sexist and abhorrent. That the Spotlight printed his tirade of insults is appalling.

Joe Biden is on video saying, "I said, I'm telling you, you're not getting the billion dollars. I said, you're not getting the billion.  I'm going to be leaving here in - I think it was about six hours.  I looked at them and said I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money. Well, son of a b- - - -. (Laughter) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time." This is verbatim by Joe Biden.

So, the real question is: Why is this an impeachable offense for President Donald Trump, but not former President Barrack Obama when Biden was on the Council for Foreign Relations doing the exact same thing?

Lynne Thompson-Hales

St. Helens

Truth over facts

Could Mr. Preheim please tell us what crime President Donald Trump committed? (See "Facts Matter," Nov. 8.)

Professor Alan Dershowitz, a celebrated constitutional lawyer and scholar who defended President Bill Clinton when he was impeached, on Nov. 11 on Laura Ingraham's program, stated that there is no impeachable crime and the House Democrats are relying on an illusion based only on hearsay.

The demeaning personal snark directed toward Kathleen Fisher shows why Mr. Preheim has not won the office he has run for in our county.

It seems to me that Mr. Preheim has channeled 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden who recently stated, in a trail appearance, that Democrats believe truth over facts.

H.E. Christofferson

Scappoose

Thank you, Mr. Preheim

Mr. Preheim, thank you, thank you. I had no idea that Kathleen Fisher was such a liar and ignorant idiot (see "Facts matter," Nov. 8). Surely, we must tar and feather her, ride her out of town on a rail, and never, ever, allow another of her letters to be published.

That's about what you said, isn't it, sir?

It's hard to get serious about such a vicious, cowardly diatribe by a town clown. What I know of Kathleen Turner is she is a charming lady who is owed an apology, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

We all know what you are, Mr. Preheim, a pseudo-intellectual with nothing to offer but hate.

I'm sure Kathleen Fisher can easily address your reckless disregard for the truth. I'd be surprised if she bothered. I certainly wouldn't — but if challenged, I'd be happy to oblige.

So let me test your intelligence, your basic knowledge of current events, specifically the debunked Russian collusion charges against President Donald Trump. And

who really did collude with the Russians?

I have a box of puzzle pieces, and each piece is a name or thing. Assembled it provides the true picture of collusion.

I challenge Mr. Prehiem to identify and assemble the pieces. Here we go:

Andrew Weissmann, Peter Strzok, Lesa Page, John Brennan, James Clapper, Robert Mueller, James Comey, The Fisa Court, a Fisa warrant, Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS, The Trump Dossier, Carter Page, $12 million, Glen Simpson, Andrew McCabe, $500,000, Perkins Coie, Bruce Ohr, Nelly Ohr, Rod Rosenstein, The Mueller Report and Hilary Clinton.

Assemble the puzzle, Mr. Preheim, if you can.

Lastly, please keep writing those letters. We really need you. You are the best Republican recruiter we have. With every letter we probably gain thousands of new Republicans.

We will win in 2020 and we couldn't do it without your help.

Al Palmer

St. Helens


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