The Columbia County Spotlight's mailbag includes thoughts on St. Helens planning and the Scappoose School Board.

St. Helens not forthright in police facility funding

So, how many people do you suppose — who live within the borders of St. Helens and who pay water bills monthly — are aware that they are going to be charged with a $25 million debt which they must pay for unlimited years to come?

What has the City of St. Helens done to notify the citizens of this big surprise? Has the city inserted an explanation in the monthly water bills or attempted in any way to make individual contact with the citizens? No.

The City Council had two choices to fund this little "surprise." One was to have a property tax levy, which would require a vote of the people; or a public safety levy which could either be voted on — or can be done by adding to the utility bill with no vote.

Most of you are likely aware of the proposed police/public safety building and I have no objection to this proposal. However, how many of you are aware that your water bill will be paying for it? I do object to this back door means of raising money without a vote.

An ad hoc committee was formed by the City Council to make a decision as to which would be the best way of funding this project. Bear in mind that most of these committee members do not live in St. Helens — or even the county — or the state. Neither the chair or the co-chair live here.

Neither does the finance director who is spearheading this project, nor does the chief of police. And yet they made the decisions for the citizens of St. Helens. No money out of their pockets.

Members of the City Council have made comments that if they are smart enough to get elected to the council, then they are smart enough to make all the decisions for the City. Well, we can all see how that has worked out in the past.

Stand up to the City. Call 503-397-6272. Ask to speak to John Walsh, Matt Brown or Rick Scholl. Tell them you object.

Nancy Whitney, St. Helens

'Democrat' epithet is juvenile, counterproductive

There are a lot of Republicans who persist in referring to the "Democrat Party" while discussing the importance of working with "the other side of the aisle" to get something done for the good of Oregon.

The Democratic Party has been using that name since 1828, and calling it anything else is an epithet, an insult and in my opinion, childish.

Insulting the people on the other side of the aisle is a waste of time and effort. Time to grow up and get back to work.

LaVerne Landauer, Beaverton

Tanya Francis for director on Scappoose School Board

Tanya Francis is very knowledgeable about the Scappoose School Board. She has lived in Scappoose for more than 15 years. She has two children ages 11 and 15 who attended Scappoose schools starting in kindergarten. She has regularly attended school board meetings and has had meetings with several superintendents. She has dealt with having a special needs student in the Scappoose School District, as well as being involved in getting a student into the TAG (Talented and Gifted) Program and the OBOB (Oregon Battle of the Books) reading competition.

In addition to experiencing the Scappoose School District, Tanya graduated from a very different school system. All these experiences have given her new ideas for this school district's future while continuing the successes of the school district.

Jim Hoag continues to be a director after 35-plus years. Do we need another member of the same family on the board? Jim Hoag's nephew is married to Summer Hoag, who is also running for this position. I recommend a vote for Tanya Francis for Area 3 director of Scappoose School District.

Patricia Turpen, Scappoose

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