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Our penultimate pre-election mailbag includes letters about local, state and federal races.

Garrett's style, track record aren't welcome on county commission

Thank you, Lori Baker, for your letter regarding the abhorrent treatment you received working as a parks employee under Casey Garrett until you felt forced to resign (letter to the editor, Oct. 9, 2020). I am sorry that I and others who know how hard you worked did not look into your situation and speak up for you.

Refer to Lori Baker's letter published Oct. 9, 2020.

I want to thank you for your outstanding, exceptional and essential work that you did for Columbia County parks over the years. You should be the one in charge of our parks.

Asburry Park, next to the fairgrounds, has become almost unusable under Garrett. For the last three years, the park has fallen apart. It took Garrett until August this year to have it mowed, and then only half. Everything is a mess and in disrepair. Many people used it weekly and some daily, but now it is impossible for most of the year. The land was a donation and that has been disrespected.

This past year, he spent a lot of money on the large parking lot for the Crown Zellerbach Trail putting in fancy stuff for bicyclists and pushing out equestrians who used to be the main users. How much did that cost?

Recently, Garrett has packed the Park Advisory Board with people he picked, without a public search to fill openings. Now he has proposed using the equestrian camp and trails at Camp Wilkerson for motorcycle races, which will destroy trails. Before that, he proposed rock concerts at the park.

Garrett is now running for the Columbia County Board of Commissioners. From all the signs around, it is pretty obvious he has a lot of money backing him — Timber Unity? [Ed.: Timber Unity PAC has contributed nearly $3,000 to Garrett's campaign for county commissioner, including in-kind donations.]

Please consider how Garrett has treated employees and our parks.

Vote for Alex Tardif, a hardworking, decent and respectful man for county commissioner.

Rachel Bernstein, St. Helens

Tardif, Dudzic are best choices for county

I wish to voice my support to re-elect Alex Tardif as Columbia County commissioner and to elect Brandee Dudzic to replace Commissioner Margaret Magruder.

I have had the opportunity to talk to Commissioner Tardif and found him to be intelligent, understanding, he has experience and he has been a voice to help the county to move forward. He has experience in finances to help the county stay fiscally responsible.

When I've had concerns and sent emails to all of the commissioners, only Commissioner Tardif has replied. He sees this as his duty as a commissioner, to answer and to be accountable to his constituents. He's honest and has integrity, which the county needs right now.

I'm also voicing my support for Brandee Dudzic. She will bring new ideas and won't be controlled by special interests. She has knowledge and understands what it takes to bring livability to Columbia County, as does Commissioner Tardif.

Brandee also feels that it's important to answer to the citizens and have transparency in the county government. I've had the opportunity to talk with Brandee, and she's has been honest and up-front with the issues and concerns.

I believe that with Commissioner Tardif and Brandee Dudzic, this county will be able to get back to serving all of its citizens.

Gloria Rice, St. Helens

Support cemetery maintenance and repairs

As most are aware, mail-in ballots will soon be delivered to residents in Oregon for the election on Nov. 3.

On the ballot for patrons of the Rainier/Clatskanie Cemetery District will be Measure 5-283, which is a request to add a nickel per $1,000 to support the Cemetery District.

For some unknown reason, this additional important financial support has failed in the past. It is important to support the Cemetery District with a yes vote.

Why? The fence at the Hudson Cemetery has been subject to hit-and-run drivers who leave the scene. This has happened five times this year and only one driver stopped and had insurance. The fence remains unrepaired, not to mention unsightly, until funds are available next year to reconstruct the damaged white fence.

The levy will support upkeep, maintenance, exhaustive labor and some necessary equipment replacement, as well as usual and ordinary bills and expenditures for all 12 local cemeteries covering over 39 acres with over 13,000 grave sites occupied and unoccupied.

Is this too much to ask to keep the grounds well groomed and presentable? As an example, it would cost a resident about $15 additional per year in a $300,000 residence for the five-year levy.

Let's support our local cemeteries, staff (of one), and volunteers. Vote yes on Measure 5-283 by Nov. 3.

Thank you.

Paul and Judy Nys, Vince and Kathy Cooney, Tom and Darlene Girt, Bruce and Roxanne Wallace, Gene and Linda Thompson, KC and Marilyn Van Natta, Carol Girt, Randy Bergman, Rainier

Baldwin has already done good for community

For those of us who have known Marty Baldwin for the past many years, I amongst that group, have come to appreciate his willingness to put forward all of his skills to complete the tasks in front of him.

You are all familiar with the Rotary Fountain in Heritage Park. Well, that fountain came to being during Marty's term as Rotary Club of Columbia County president. The project had floundered for four prior years, but understanding what needed to be done was Marty's inspiration, and now there is a place for the kids in our community to enjoy water recreation.

Marty's sense of humor, even his bad jokes — not dirty, just bad — make being around him an enjoyable event, but don't let that fool you, because under the breadth of humor is someone who looks at the world through understanding glasses.

It's your vote that counts, so count for Marty.

Len Waggoner, Scappoose

Magruder supports Columbia County businesses

As a third-generation Columbia County farmer and the longtime coordinator of the Lower Columbia River Watershed Council, Margaret Magruder understands well the issues facing natural resource industries and their importance to the economy of our county and our state.

She has knowledge, experience, intelligence and common sense, which she has brought with her onto the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Magruder had the courage to stand with the natural resource industry and speak out at the State Capitol in Salem in opposition to the cap-and-trade bill. She has been endorsed by Timber Unity. Her opponent has been endorsed by the Sierra Club. That should tell you what you need to know to join us in re-electing Margaret Magruder to Columbia County Commissioner, Position 1.

Eric and Bonnie Evenson, Clatskanie

Longtime clients back Clarke for judge

Good morning. We are not usually vocal about politics, but today, we would like to share our thoughts about the position open for Circuit Court judge, Position 3.

Bill and I are voting for Mike Clarke. He has done legal work for us for years. Mike is a good man who puts effort into each challenge.

We feel Mike is good for the position open. Good for Scappoose.

Join us in voting for Mike Clarke.

Bill and Sharon Carlson, Scappoose

Former Juvenile Department director endorses Grant

As a Juvenile Department employee in Columbia County for over 35 years, I was in a unique position to work with and observe Judge Jenefer Grant as both a defense attorney and a judge.

As an attorney, she was a strong advocate for abused and neglected children, fighting tirelessly for their rights. She continues that role as a judge, holding youth-serving agencies accountable for their care.

The criticism she has recently received for attempting to intervene on behalf of employees of the Community Justice Department was ill-advised and unfair ("County dismissed complaints against former parole department head," Oct. 9, 2020). Effective probation officers are critical to the operation of the court and to the safety of our community. If the complainant's allegations had been handled appropriately, Judge Grant would have never been put in that position.

Judge Grant has served us with great intelligence and integrity and she should be re-elected.

Stan Mendenhall, Columbia City

Tardif is qualified and professional, unlike his opponent

I first met Alex Tardif over four years ago — before he was Columbia County Commissioner Alex Tardif. I was totally impressed by Tardif at that time and am even more impressed with the four years he has served our county.

Tardif has a bachelor of arts degree in business with a degree in accounting from the University of Portland. He worked several years as payroll and tax officer for an international software company before deciding his background would be uniquely qualified as a county commissioner in Columbia County.

A tax accountant by trade, he began his first year on the board as budget officer. He went on from there to spread his interests to the entire county.

Tardif serves on the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council and the board of directors for Columbia Community Mental Health.

In 2018, Alex was elected treasurer of the Association of Oregon Counties, an advocacy group for Oregon's county governments that brings county officials together as a collective voice on statewide and national policy.

We all need to get out and vote to re-elect Alex Tardif, Position 3, of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners. He is the best qualified commissioner elected to this board in all the many, many years I have voted.

Now let me tell you a story about his opponent. This information came to me through the hard work and determination of an incredibly bright — and undoubtedly bullheaded — dear friend of mine, Tammy Maygra.

Ms. Maygra learned of several egregious infractions/complaints lodged in 2019 against Commissioner Tardif's opponent, Casey Garrett. Ms. Maygra asked for a copy of the outcome when Garrett was brought to task for the offenses. She received a copy with nearly everything blacked out.

And here is where the "bullheaded" comes in. Ms. Maygra appealed to the courts for an unredacted copy of Garrett's file. Her appeal was turned over to the Multnomah County District Attorney in order to avoid an biased decision. Last week, she received what she asked for — along with a letter from the office of Judge Ted Grove of the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon.

I am quite certain Ms. Maygra will be sharing this information with the public very soon. However, may I share one quote from Judge Grove's letter to Mr. Garrett: "This restriction is the result of complaints I have received from court staff about your inappropriate behavior toward them which have been described as condescending, harrassing, and bullying."

That pretty much says it all. I urge you to vote for the better man — the honest man — Alex Tardif for county commissioner, Position 3.

Thanks for reading.

Nancy Whitney, St. Helens

Garrett has disqualified himself

Casey Garrett is running for county commissioner, Position 3.

I urge you to vote no for Mr. Garrett. After researching the candidate, through public records which can be found at cleancolumbiacounty.info, I found information which is not only alarming but offensive.

In his personal file and other public records, I discovered many verified complaints. Mr. Garrett referred to his co-workers/staff as his (n-words) not once but numerous times. He was banned from the jail by our former Sheriff Jeff Dickerson because he could not follow protocol concerning contraband being taken into the jail, which is against state and federal law — and is a felony. Mr. Garrett was banned by Columbia County Circuit Judge Ted Grove from entering the Oregon Judicial Department because of inappropriate behavior, harassment, bullying and condescending complaints made by court staff. [Ed.: Garrett's personnel file shows he was not "banned" from the Sheriff's Office or Circuit Court, but his access was restricted after complaints from employees.]

Similar complaints have been made by other county employees to the point where they reassigned to other county departments, retired early or quit their job, including a dedicated 15-year employee who quit this past August.

A commissioner represents the county statewide, and at times nationally and oftentimes internationally, through businesses and corporate interaction. Many of these folks are of different race and religions. We know by the confirmed complaints filed against Mr. Garrett that he treats people who are subordinate to him with distain. His file also revealed that he does not tolerate anyone's opinion other than his own, he cannot work well with other department heads and could not abide the ordered mediation procedures. He denies every complaint filed against him; they are all someone else's fault. He basically called Sheriff Dickerson and other sheriffs liars and the honorable Judge Grove a liar too.

That is why I am casting my vote for Alex Tardif, a person who treats all people with dignity and respect and listens to every voice. And a person who is watchful for the finances of our county.

I am asking you to join me in casting your vote for Alex Tardif for county commissioner, Position 3.

Tammy Maygra, Deer Island

Break up the 'good ol' boys' with Dudzic, Tardif

On Oct. 9, KOHI broadcasted an interview with county commissioner candidates Brandee Dudzic and Alex Tardif. They provided their overall view of where they can assist the citizens of this county in mental health, COVID issues and their views on the role a county commissioner plays in the overall guidance of the county.

I heard good ideas to provide for financial prudence of the county funds and a proactive proponent against harassment and improper management of employees of the county. It was quite evident that they both take an overall view of the mental, physical and financial health of the citizens of this County.

On the other hand, I heard Casey Garrett, who joined late due to technical difficulties, recount his professional accomplishments. I did not hear an overall vision for the financial, mental or physical health of the citizens of Columbia County. I did not hear how he's worked with other community organizations, built partnerships or reaching out to those in our community who are at risk.

I, as a voting citizen of this county, feel we deserve commissioners that are accountable and willing to listen to the community's concerns and guide us as a county into the future.

I'm voting for Alex Tardif and Brandee Dudzic to guide us to that future. I want people who can work to build partnerships within the community, hear different points of view and find a common ground. I want Columbia County to be a place my granddaughter would like to live without being at the whim of the "good ol' boy network."

If Margaret Magruder and Casey Garrett are elected, this county will continue down the path where retaliation and harassment are the norm, and concerns are dismissed as invalid or unimportant.

Beverly Peacock, Scappoose

Garrett disrespects, denigrates people who work for him

I prefer to not be writing this letter; however, I can no longer sit quiet and allow Casey Garrett to attack the integrity of Columbia County employees.

I am the widow of one of the workers who Casey and his supporters have been maligning, and it's time Columbia County learned the truth about Casey Garrett.

Casey and his supporters claim that Casey's toxic relationship with employees was due to their unwillingness to perform their jobs. Casey has also denied that he called his workers racial epithets. Casey is lying.

I distinctly remember the day my husband Jeff came home and described in detail Casey calling his workers the n-word. They were working on a project, and when Jeff asked him who would be doing it, Casey replied that he had his n-word. Jeff was appalled that anyone would use that language, especially a manager.

Jeff loved his job, but that changed once Casey came on board. Jeff would tell me daily about the disrespect Casey dished out to anyone who didn't agree 100% with him.

Jeff was a kind, quiet man who did his job and didn't complain. He worked at the county for a decade, was a licensed general contractor, and his last days were spent cleaning women's toilets.

Casey's constant disrespect and arrogant attitude toward Jeff and his colleagues was just too much. My husband retired early, giving up his benefits and life insurance. Jeff died 18 months later.

Read Casey's personnel file and that will tell you all you need to know about this man.

Tracie Smith, St. Helens

Vote for Tardif, Dudzic as honest brokers

Oregon ballots are scheduled to be mailed out on the 14th. My guess is that people may have their ballots before they get this letter.

This is a time for some very expensive political campaigns, with little or no limits on campaign spending and a wonderful opportunity for special interests to buy themselves political candidates.

There are two people in the upcoming County Commission race that I know are not for sale: Alex Tardif and Brandee Dudzic.

To my knowledge, these candidates are depending on small donations not big corporate gifts.

Both pledge to be independent voices and will try to work for the good of the majority and not for special interests.

Alex is a CPA and adept with numbers. He has served as our county budget officer and in the process managed to save the county thousands of dollars.

He is honest and an independent voice on our county commission.

Brandee Dudzic is a mother, a veteran combat medic, and a skilled conflict resolution negotiator. She presently works at our county law library.

She holds a master's in conflict resolution and says that she plans to eliminate what has been described in the papers as a "toxic work environment" for county employees.

She not only would work to create a livable workspace, but would also work to both maintain and improve the livability of our beautiful county.

Brandee and Alex can't be bought. They are both independent of special interests, and want to work for all of our county citizens.

We need to vote for both of them.

Bill Eagle, St. Helens

Proud of Tardif's contributions to Columbia County

I want to share a quick thought on this young man who is making a difference in our county.

I have know Alex Tardif since he was 7. Even back then, this commissioner has had a servant's heart, putting others' needs ahead of his own. He always wanted to help when he'd visit: mow my yard, stack/haul hay, babysit, teach the kids to ride bikes, and help with outdoor chores.

His high school civics papers talked about his vision for our county. I recall when he was only 18 or 19, he wanted to run for the school board because he knew what kids needed. If memory serves right, he was talked out of it because he had a full load of courses at University of Portland.

Then, like all teens/young adults, he couldn't wait to get out of the county and see the world and so he did, but he realized just how good home could be. He will be forever at home here in our county.

Alex is transparent, fair, considerate, professional and takes time to listen even if one has a differing opinion. I am not active in the world of politics, but I do know a great candidate and dedicated commissioner for our county and I am so very proud of him.

Tina Gift, Scappoose

Dudzic has an actual plan for education

As a parent in Columbia County, I look to a candidate's platform on children, schools, and childcare as vitally important when deciding how I will vote in local elections.

This election cycle, I have been dismayed that there has been little discussion from most candidates about our children. Brandee Dudzic is the only candidate that I have seen with an actual, substantial plan to invest in our youth.

It's important to me that I am being represented in government by someone who understands the challenges faced by parents today, especially during this time of COVID.

Brandee is a mother of three children ranging in age from elementary school to college. I know that her own experiences and challenges as a working mother will be a driving force when it comes to making policy that affects working families. She is endorsed by the Oregon Working Families Party for this reason.

It is essential to the prosperity of our county that our families and children have safe and stable housing. Brandee will address our homelessness crisis by advocating for the creation of a youth drop-in center and present solutions for affordable housing.

Please join me in voting for Brandee Dudzic for Columbia County commissioner, Position 1.

Sarah Kotkins, St. Helens

Baldwin is the right candidate for Scappoose City Council

My wife and I have known Marty Baldwin for over 10 years. In that time, we have known Marty to be caring, honest, and committed to our community.

We have observed Marty to be involved in many community outreach groups which has benefited our community. His background as a police officer, his work with the Boy Scouts of America, and his experiences on various budget and planning committees locally all boil down to his drive and passion for community service.

From engaging in respectful debate and conversation to knowing his way around budgets, Marty has the necessary tools and drive to be part of the Scappoose City Council.

Marty is also vested in this community, having settled here in Scappoose with his wife and enjoying the company of his children and grandchildren locally as well. You will often find Marty and his wife on the sidelines cheering on his grandchildren and others. This is just another example to show that he is dedicated to Scappoose and will help shape our town's future in a thoughtful, positive, and sensible manner that benefits our whole community.

We genuinely enjoy Marty's company and we hope you join us in our support for Marty Baldwin for Scappoose City Council.

Donny and Jessica Leader, Scappoose

Brad Witt supports our communities

We are voting to re-elect Brad Witt state representative this November.

Like Brad, education made a very positive difference in our lives, as it can for all. We understand its importance in opening the door to opportunity for everyone, and Brad works hard to ensure it is there for more Oregonians.

For example, he helped to pass legislation that delivered $23 million for our local school districts. Brad also secured the final $4.5 million to complete the new Vernonia school building following the flood. In addition, he helped put shop classes back in our state's schools, added more career and technical education and increased funding for community colleges and public universities. This is the kind of support all of our communities have the right to expect.

Brad has donated many dollars and hours to our community because he cares. He is a frequent participant at our parades, fundraisers, school functions, 4-H activities and other civic events.

We hope you will join us in supporting his re-election.

Charlotte and Dennis Hart, Warren

Who are you calling a socialist?

This is written in response to Mr. Bruce Anderson's letter, "Freedoms given up are lost forever," printed in the Oct. 9, 2020, edition of the Columbia County Spotlight.

Mr. Anderson's letter essentially juxtaposes limited government and freedom for the individual versus socialism. I find it ironic that he begins his letter by stating that "our Constitution and Declaration of Independence were drafted by persons of great wisdom" and then gives the following example of our socialistic government: "The government is dictating how we live. One recent example is the current push to tax smoking and vaping."

Refer to Bruce Anderson's letter published Oct. 9, 2020.

Since George Washington was elected president of the convention that wrote our Constitution, I would presume Mr. Anderson considers him as a "person of great wisdom." Early in Washington's first term as president, he was confronted with the "Whiskey Rebellion," which began prior to his presidency.

In 1791, the government enacted a federal tax on all distilled spirits. In Western Pennsylvania, protesters used violence and intimidation to prevent federal officials from collecting the tax. In 1794, Washington rode at the head of an army of 13,000 militiamen to facilitate collection of the taxes. Was George Washington, a person of great wisdom, our first socialist president?

Mr. Anderson's other socialistic example is government regulation of fireworks since he "believe(s) the use of fireworks should be an individual choice, and the individual is responsible for their use and any damage or injuries that result." A couple of years ago, a 14-year-old child's use of fireworks started a fire in the Columbia River Gorge that caused $30 million in damages. I do not believe payments will be forthcoming.

Greg Lines, St. Helens

Stop stealing yard signs

As we get closer to Election Day, by now, people are seeing signs for this candidate or that candidate, or are putting signs out themselves. Some signs accidentally get placed where they should not be, but other signs just end up destroyed or missing.

Unfortunately, some people are stealing these signs, or defacing and otherwise damaging them, because they feel so strongly against a certain candidate.

We have had multiple signs stolen outright, two of them for the same candidate. People need to remember that, no matter your political affiliation, theft is theft, and vandalism is vandalism. We paid for these signs, and these thieves basically stole from our pockets.

Support whom you want, but if you have any ethics and moral compass, then leave the signs alone.

The candidates themselves can say all they want that they cannot be expected to control the actions of their supporters. However, they can remind their supporters that, in no uncertain terms, theft and vandalism are crimes, and these actions will not be tolerated. These candidates also can make this statement as public as possible through their media outlets and mailings.

Before we put out another sign, we are taking measures to keep watch on the sign's location. Should another one go missing, and we find out who has taken it, we will make sure that person ends up with a criminal record. Count on it.

Brian McGahren, Tigard

Emergency assistance saves lives, tax dollars

While we work toward radically reforming the police, ending housing discrimination and undoing inequities in education, we can take simple but necessary steps to ensure that people of color disproportionately threatened by the economic effects of the coronavirus — and everyone else in that situation — can remain in their homes and put food on their tables.

How? By allocating money for emergency rental assistance, creating an ongoing renter's tax credit, expanding the food stamp program, and expanding existing tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, which have already lifted millions of Americans out of poverty.

Many of these programs pay for themselves, saving taxpayer money in the long run. In addition, they generate critically needed economic activity, putting money into the hands of landlords, farmers and other business owners.

Most (not all) of the seven members of Congress from Oregon are strong supporters of these programs, but the Republican leadership of the Senate is strongly opposed. Why? Lack of empathy? Mistaken assumptions about economics and government spending?

The truth is that a little generosity would go a long way and would be a smart investment in our shared future.

Randolph Splitter, Northwest Portland

Measure 108 can improve healthcare

COVID-19 has shown a spotlight on the very real health inequities that exist in this country, and the importance of access to healthcare. In Oregon, one in four people, including 400,000 children, receive health coverage through the Oregon Health Plan.

At a time when people are losing employer-sponsored health coverage, it's critical to keep the Oregon Health Plan well-funded. That's why I support Measure 108 on the November ballot.

Measure 108 provides funding for the Oregon Health Plan by establishing Oregon's first e-cigarette tax and raising our cigarette tax.

Passing this measure will protect Medicaid so hundreds of thousands of low-income, working-class Oregonians can access the care and treatments they need.

I work with cancer patients on a daily basis, and many depend on the Oregon Health Plan for their treatment and prevention check-ups. It would be detrimental for many to lose this coverage.

Amid the pandemic, we're facing an epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. People continue suffering from tobacco-related illnesses. Raising the price of tobacco products including e-cigarettes will protect kids and help adults quit.

Revenue from the measure will also fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs to make Oregonians healthier by reducing tobacco use.

I have young nieces and nephews and I never want to see them struggling with a tobacco addiction. Raising the tax will help protect them from ever starting to smoke.

Measure 108 will save nearly 12,000 Oregon lives, protect kids from tobacco use and fund critical healthcare programs. Join me to vote yes.

Courtney Clark, Beaverton

Trump is the best president in generations

So, you dislike Donald Trump?

He is difficult at times, but he's been a superb president. In fact, he's the best president we've had in my lifetime. I'm 90.

Truman was good, JFK was very good, Nixon was smart and Reagan was excellent. I still think Trump is the best.

Why? Because he is totally transparent, gives you his decisions up front and then produces. He has leveled the playing field for most Americans. He's working every day for all of us.

Bob Gray, Tigard

Scappoose school board member backs Stout for House

As a small business owner, we desperately need people like Brian Stout to represent us in the state Legislature.

Brian is smart and understands the challenges facing our community, schools and businesses. We need someone who listens to those he represents and will stand up and advocate for our constitutional rights, not just give lip service.

Brian is a man of integrity and perseverance no matter the circumstances.

I strongly support Brian Stout for State Representative in District 31.

Lisa Maloney

Director, Scappoose School Board

Let's follow the science and focus on the issues

I am a community organizer in Portland, working on behalf of progressive candidates and policies. Right now, I'm feeling extremely thankful for all the work our legislators have done to help Oregonians in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But I must continue to urge that this is not over.

I don't believe the pandemic will be over until we have a vaccine for COVID-19 and elected leaders who believe in science and research.

As a person who has watched our country flounder for answers on to how to address our healthcare system, I'm disheartened to see more floundering by way of recent proposals and policies coming from the administration. One such policy is the most-favored-nation healthcare policy, which works to put restrictions on pharmaceutical innovation.

In the middle of a pandemic, our country needs increased pharmaceutical innovation and it's disappointing to see the current person in the White House disregard this.

My paternal grandfather died of heart disease after working as a postal carrier his entire life. In my family, there is a long history of cancer and diabetes. I, myself, was in a serious car accident and have been dealing with chronic pain since.

We cannot leave people waiting for cures that won't come. The need to push for innovation and drug development has never been so clear.

I hope Oregon's lawmakers will stand up for patients and put families throughout our community who, like mine, are awaiting a cure — both for the specific issues that plague us and for COVID-19.

Joe Emmons, West Haven-Sylvan

Does Amy Coney Barrett support Trump?

I have been listening intently to the hearings for the new justice. The questioning has been partisan, annoying, and I think most of it is just political speechmaking. Not really questioning, or reasoning. You know those kind of questions that you know what answer you're going to get before they even finish. Or the questioner is not even looking for an answer.

The judge is obviously very qualified, well-educated and experienced enough, although she seems young. But she is holding her own, I gotta give her that. She is doing a good job of not really answering anything of substance.

So if I was there I would move on to some questions that are really bothering me. I would like to ask her if it's a safe assumption that she supports Donald Trump. She may evade the question, or not really answer it. But it seems likely that she does.

So as a mother of all those children, how does she reconcile that? They are old enough to watch TV and see social media, so what does she tell them about the president, and why she is not disgusted by his behavior?. She said she had a child with disabilities, so what does she tell them about his mocking of that reporter? She has adopted children who are immigrants from one of those presumed (expletive)-hole countries. How does she address the issue of white supremacy, the porn star, the denigration of John McCain, or calling assertive women "nasty"?

So I would like to hear her rationalize all this. I can't really imagine what the answer would be. She looks and seems like a very nice, intelligent person, so it is beyond me to understand it.

Gayle Pedemonte, Gaston

Help veterans by passing Measure 110

I'm a Vietnam veteran in long-term recovery.

The rate of drug addiction among Oregon veterans is far higher than that of the general population. Every day, a veteran is denied access to drug treatment, and recovery services is another day of hell-on-earth, as they relive their traumas and turn to substances in a desperate attempt to self-medicate their pain. It's another day we risk losing a brother or sister in arms to suicide or overdose.

Veterans with addictions are entitled, after their service to our country, to receive professional, compassionate treatment. Ballot Measure 110 will make sure they get it.

Measure 110 offers veterans with addiction a way back to a stable life. Join me in voting yes on 110 for our veterans.

David Michael Smith, Forest Grove

Brad Witt has our backs

I am supporting state Rep. Brad Witt, and here's why: The past few months have been exceptionally challenging in a year already marred with the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans and a ravaged economy.

August brought increased violence on all sides at the Portland protests and the attack on the U.S. Postal Service by President Donald Trump.

And now we must cope with the damage and loss of the fires that ravaged Oregon and the West Coast.

Which is why we need to keep people like Brad Witt in office.

Brad was looking out for us when he asked for an audit of the Oregon Employment Department. Brad and his staff have made thousands of calls to constituents to check on their well-being. Brad sat on the Forestry Board and worked in the timber industry. I trust that Brad will have ideas on how to restore our wilderness.

I hope you'll join me in supporting the kind of leadership we need now more than ever.

Kristen Sisco, St. Helens

Fight addiction by supporting Measure 110

Oregon's addiction crisis is deeply personal to me; both my husband and my daughter are in long-term recovery, and I watched them struggle with addiction for many years.

I also come from a family many struggled with addiction. Because of the lack of help and services available to them, some died, either directly from an overdose, or from a health issue related to their addiction.

Ballot Measure 110 will make lifesaving treatment and recovery resources available to more people.

It's too late for some of the people I love, but it isn't too late for the thousands of Oregonians struggling with addictions today.

I have seen through my husband and daughter's journeys from active addiction to recovery that treatment and recovery works.

Let's make these lifesaving services more accessible to all. Join me in voting yes on Measure 110.

Margaret Smith, Forest Grove

M110 will fix a broken system

When I was in my early 20s, I was convicted of a non-violent drug offense. Now I am in my 50s and my criminal record continues to follow me, preventing me from accessing housing, job opportunities, and more.

My situation is not unique. The system is broken. Our current drug laws can ruin lives based on a single mistake. Possession of even a small amount of drugs can land someone in jail and saddle them with a lifelong criminal record that prevents them from getting a job, getting housing or even a credit card.

I support Measure 110 because it removes unfairly harsh punishments for minor, nonviolent drug offenses.

I don't want others to experience what I have. Vote yes on 110 to create a more just criminal justice system in Oregon.

Bobby Byrd, Rock Creek

Former Multnomah County Community Justice manager backing M110

As a mom, concerned citizen, and someone who spent my 30-year career working in law enforcement, I support Measure 110.

Our state ranks nearly last of all states in access to basic drug treatment. Measure 110 will save money and lives. According to a study by ECONorthwest, It costs nearly $30,000 to arrest, prosecute and jail someone for simple drug possession. It costs about $10,000 to provide drug treatment to those people who need it.

This measure will change our approach: instead of arresting and jailing people for drugs, we'd use marijuana tax revenue to pay for more addiction treatment services.

People suffering from addiction need help, not criminal punishments. Using the criminal justice system to address addiction is expensive. It costs taxpayers a significant amount of money with zero results.

Providing treatment resources is not only fiscally more responsible, it's the right thing to do.

Oregon needs this badly. I will be voting yes on 110 and urge you to join me.

Laura Ritchie, Beaverton

Psychology lesson shows why we need M110

My name is Annalicia. I live in Washington County, I'm a psychology student at Portland State University, and I work as a nanny. I spend most of my day putting toddlers in time-out. If anyone knows anything about punishment, it would be me.

As a society we spend a lot of time punishing folks — prison, fines, arrests, etc. We think these punishments will improve things in the future and make the rest of us safer.

Funny thing is, punishments and discipline shouldn't cause pain. In operant conditioning (a principal of behavioral psychology) and in nannying, "punishment" is simply whatever consequence we impose that reduces occurences of the undesired behavior.

As a nanny, if my toddler hits a friend with a toy, I might take away the toy or put them in time-out, but if that doesn't stop it and if the hitting continues, then I need to switch tactics until both kids are safe.

The evidence is in. Jailing and punishing addicts isn't working, and we need a new tactic. Measure 110 will reduce our drug crisis in Oregon, make rehab accessible, and allow folks with addiction to heal and to contribute to society. Join me in voting yes on Measure 110.

Annalicia Whittaker, West Slope


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