The mailbag for the week includes criticism of Scappoose schools and support for Hispanic Heritage Month.

This Republican is voting for Brad Witt

The situation with receiving unemployment benefits and the Federal PUA from the Oregon Department of Employment is a tragic mess. Tragic because it has delayed much needed money to Oregon citizens most in need of it, because they have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and a mess due to decades of mismanagement under Democratic control.

After two months and over 200 phone calls to the perpetually busy phone number for unemployment claims help, I was losing all hope of receiving the money due me.

I called the representative for my area, Brad Witt, to ask for help. My call was returned by his able assistant Caleb. I explained the frustration of my many attempts at getting help, and he said hat he was very familiar with the problem, and that Brad and other representatives were calling for an investigation into the department.

Caleb took my information and said he would try to help me. Two days later, I had a phone call from a wonderful woman named Brittany in Salem. She reviewed my file with me, and agreed that I was entitled to both state and federal payments, and that she would see that checks for both would be sent out immediately.

Two days later, I received my checks.

I am a rare (in Oregon) Republican who basically has no confidence in our local or state officials. I will now be casting my vote for Democrat Brad Witt. He is a hero and a legislator that can be trusted. He cares for his constituents.

Vote for Brad — he is one of the good guys.

Tim Larson, Sauvie Island

Scappoose schools wasting time, dollars

Why is it that the Scappoose School District is focused on getting a team of community members together for an equity and social justice committee at a time like this?

Every parent and teacher knows right now, we are all at a breaking point. People are out of work, kids are sitting in front of a computer screen to receive an education, parents are trying to manage working while keeping their kids on track. This is a mess, everyone is trying to make it work, but it really isn't working, for anyone. These are the real issues affecting our community today, right now, for every race.

But Scappoose School District has decided now is an appropriate time to direct finances and resources away from the current needs of our very families, and move toward setting up this committee designed by the Oregon Department of Education to do nothing more separate our children. To tell those of color in our community, that may have never felt underserved or treated differently because of the color of their skin, that they are going to "fix" it.

We must focus on what is happening right here right now. We must get our kids back in the classroom and find ways to better support our families until that day comes.

Ivy Freimuth, Scappoose

Port commissioner, wife supporting incumbent judge

We know Judge Jenefer Grant to be a person of great integrity.

Judge Grant invests long and difficult days on her cases to find individual solutions that protect the public but, at the same time, offer hope for rehabilitation and renewal of the defendants. She expects honest and persistent effort on the part of her caseload. She truly believes that caring communities are strong communities.

It is important to maintain experience and consistency on the bench. For these reasons, we are voting to retain Judge Jenefer Grant.

Chip and Nancy Bubl, Warren

Important to celebrate heritage, act in the here-and-now

Fifty-two years have passed since we began celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States.

Hispanics play a vital role in our society that is sometimes forgotten, overlooked, or ignored. Whether you identify as Hispanic, Latino, Chicano or Latinx, know that this is your month to celebrate the people who paved the way.

I come from a family of migrant workers, housekeepers, cooks, and factory workers — the jobs you say to yourself, "I'm glad that's not me." As a fourth-generation Chicana, I can't comprehend the struggle of leaving my homeland in search of a better life.

My great-grandparents, Ama and Apa, were migrant workers who worked everywhere from Minnesota to Arizona and picked everything from strawberries to cotton, eventually, settling in Oceano, California.

This drive to sacrifice comfort and security in favor of working for a better future is shared by all our brothers and sisters. We must recognize this in ourselves and continue the push for a better future, whether or not we'll live to see it.

Amidst a global pandemic, the nation's most marginalized populations are being asked to work. Farmworkers already face one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation, with heat exhaustion, pesticide exposure, and the threat of wildfires.

César Chávez and Dolores Huerta paved the way with their commitment to non-violence and spirituality that changed a nation with the United Farm Workers of America. It's up to our generation to continue their legacy and fight for our ancestor's rights. Farmworkers deserve this prestigious recognition along with respect and appreciation for feeding us every day.

Support brown businesses, fill out your census and register to vote. Yo cuento!

Maritza Oropeza, Portland

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