The Spotlight publishes letters about Portland Community College and Scappoose school board races and more.

Scappoose would be well served by Stutsman-Hoag

On May 18, the education landscape in Scappoose will change with the Scappoose School Board election. That is why I am writing to offer my support for Summer Stutsman-Hoag for the Zone 3 position.

There are quite a few standout reasons Summer is the right choice for this position. First, she has children at Otto Petersen, Scappoose Middle School and Scappoose High School — giving her firsthand perspective as an involved parent.

In addition, Summer volunteers her time and talents tirelessly throughout the school district and community, to ensure that all children have the support and care they need.

Whether she is diving into fundraising for a sports teams or meeting on the school district budget committee, Summer is an incredible asset who gives back to our community.

I have had the privilege of working alongside Summer through the Grant Watts Parent Organization (GWPO) and have seen the way she thoughtfully listens to what is needed, collaborates to explore all angles of the situation and makes sound decisions following a thorough process. She is a natural leader that is purpose-driven — with a work ethic that is unmatched. She never loses sight of what is important: our students and our families.

I am honored to support Summer Stutsman-Hoag as an advocate for our children.

Virginia Fenstermaker, Scappoose

Hillsboro School Board member backs Wilson for PCC

I am writing in support of Kristi Wilson for the Portland Community College Board — Zone 7. Kristi is the best choice to be a voice for students and set policy for PCC.

As an elected official in the Hillsboro area, I have gotten to know Kristi over the years through our mutual passion for education. Through her involvement with the Hillsboro Youth Advisory Council and the Career and College Pathways Steering Committee, I have seen her support numerous youth and create pathways to help them build a better future. She has over 20 years of experience building workforce programs and recognizes the changing landscape of education and workforce. Kristi is committed to help students navigate these systems and find the opportunities they need to succeed.

Furthermore, Kristi is a trusted community partner and thoughtful leader. She has already been working with PCC staff and programs for numerous years, listening to student and staff needs firsthand. Her thoughtful and inclusive approach to leadership will serve PCC well as the board cultivates strategic partnerships and considers critical policy decisions that impact the lives of over 60,000 students.

Beyond that, as a PCC alumna, she brings a unique, lived perspective that will make her successful in representing Zone 7. She understands the importance of enhancing opportunity and access by removing barriers and creating intentional efforts to support historically underserved residents.

I look forward to voting for Kristi Wilson for PCC Board — Zone 7, on May 18, and I urge you to join me.

See Eun Kim

Director, Hillsboro School District

In support of Scappoose's Stutsman-Hoag

Scappoose School District is extremely blessed to have Summer Hoag as a candidate running for School Board Zone 3.

Summer and I's personal connection began as a parent/teacher relationship. Summer's genuine concern for the children in the classroom quickly expanded school wide. Summer's roles as vice president and president of the parent organization allowed her to form relationships with all the teachers and students in the building. These roles also allowed her to build relationships with community members as she visited local businesses, rallying support for the school.

Whether Summer is doing hair and makeup for multiple girls before a dance competition, pulling up a chair at the softball field, or spearheading a fundraiser, she is communicating with parents. She is actively hearing and sharing concerns, ideas and procedures all relating to Scappoose children's education.

Summer has gained insight into positive, as well as negative attributes tied to Scappoose School District.

Summer will bring an acute awareness to the table. Through her own children, she is educated on current policies and will move in a direction that will benefit children, parents, teachers and community members in the district.

I encourage voters to elect Summer Hoag on May 18.

Joanie Lordos, Scappoose

Candidate's experience suits her well for board seat

Join me in voting Summer Hoag for the Scappoose School Board.

I've known Summer over 10 years. She is sincere in her desire to serve our community in a new leadership role and has done her homework.

Summer's impressive volunteer resume in our community includes leading parent organizations, fundraising, supporting district health screening and car seat clinics, district committees, in-classroom help in every school. She is invested in our community and wants to use her personal and professional skills to improve student success.

Summer is a PICU/NICU nurse which gives her a unique perspective and important skill set that will help guide the work ahead for our district with steady, carefully considered decision-making. Most importantly to me, she deeply cares about the success of all children. She will be an excellent board member. Vote Summer Hoag for school board.

Sarah Havlik, Scappoose

Retain Lager on Scappoose School Board

My name is Bart Grabhorn and I am writing in support of the re-election of Philip Lager for Scappoose School Board.

Me and my wife have known Philip for many years, decades even. He has gave endless hours supporting many charitable causes, youth activities, education and after-school sports.

I have always thought Phil had great perspective with problem-solving and communication being just a couple of his strong points. I have no

doubt of Philip's ability and willingness to give 110% to such an important board.

I have known Philip in the business world as well; being a good 20 years

his senior, I have always marveled at his successes, work ethic and decision-making process.

I generally do not care to make much fuss as to who to support in elections, but this is one exception.

Philip Lager has my vote and deserves yours.

Bart Grabhorn, Scappoose

Backing candidates in Scappoose schools race

Scappoose School Board has three openings and five candidates for the upcoming election on May 18.

Some believe local elections are less important than national elections. I disagree; local elections are just as important, because they determine the governance of where we live. In the case of the school board, these elected officials must work together to set the course for the education of our children, and those children are the future of our community.

Collaboration, knowledge and experience are why I'm supporting Summer Hoag and Phil Lager for Scappoose School Board.

Summer's qualifications include participating in hiring committees for teachers, principals, and the superintendent in our district. She has been an active member and served in leadership roles in parent organizations at every school level, helping raise over $200,000 for our local schools. Some of her community experience includes serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and participating at career day sessions in the schools.

Phil has served on the board for three terms. He understands what it means to make difficult decisions with a limited budget. He listens to the concerns of parents and works to find a middle ground and fairness for all students in our district.

Polly Riutta, Scappoose

Stutsman-Hoag supports youth, earns couple's support too

We are writing to enthusiastically share our support for Summer Stutsman-Hoag for the Scappoose School Board.

Summer has three children attending Scappoose schools, but her interests in education go way beyond her own children's interest. Summer has spent tireless hours volunteering in this community, in a wide range of interests, all benefiting children. Grant Watts Elementary, Otto Petersen Elementary, Scappoose High School, Scappoose Little League, and the Scappoose School Budget Committee have all benefited from her expertise, professionalism, and leadership.

In volunteer positions with the Amani Center, and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children, Summer has demonstrated her passion for children's academic, mental, and physical health. Serving as a teacher for 17 years and as a coach for over 20 years, we recognize the importance of having someone on the Scappoose School Board who will advocate for all children, families, staff, and community. Summer Stutsman-Hoag is that person.

We could not be prouder to support Summer Stutsman-Hoag in the May 18 election for Scappoose School Board.

Stacie and Joe Backus, Warren

Not a fan of last week's cartoon

While I understand that a newspaper should reflect a variety of views and that political cartoons by their nature are supposed to be "edgy," the Hitch cartoon that appeared in last week's paper was definitely outside the bounds of acceptable.

To attempt to link U.S. voting rights, racism, Major League Baseball and international diplomacy into a one-panel image was ill-conceived and frankly distasteful in my view. I know nothing about the artist or his work, but I hope your paper does not make a habit of using these cartoons in the future if the last one is indicative of the general style and focus.

Having been a regular reader of your paper for many years, I expect better and would prefer to see more thoughtful and insightful material in the political cartoons in the future.

Thank you for listening to my views on this. I would be interested to know if other readers had similar opinions to my own on this issue.

John Bloss, Laurelwood

U.S. can take lead role in addressing global poverty

In the current pandemic, it is easy to get lost in the difficulties facing the domestic population. Meanwhile, individuals across the globe are combating the same issues with fewer resources and less developed infrastructures.

All people are feeling the effects of the pandemic, so now it is important to stand together and share resources.

The United States comes from a position of global power and overall privilege. By supporting foreign markets through foreign investments in the form of aid, the U.S. could widely expand the markets available for U.S. goods in the domestic markets or for goods in the domestic markets of foreign nations.

Moving forward, we can accept positions of brave leadership or of a cowardly bystander.

As an ambassador to the Borgen Project, I work to ensure representatives are fighting against poverty through U.S. foreign aid.

Besides expanding humanitarian and foreign aid abroad, the United States should consider improving the plight of the world's poor an important strategic interest.

Although the challenge is daunting, there are numerous examples of how far poverty-reducing efforts have come. Over the last couple of decades, we made impactful advances against poverty, so with greater support, we will be able to further reduce the suffering of the most vulnerable populations.

Kayla Barrera, Tualatin

COVID-19 restrictions are for our own good

I have been reading and hearing about business owners complaining about their county restrictions regarding opening tightened up again. They ask why they are blamed when the rise in numbers, in their view, is occurring due to private gatherings of those being less than careful.

If these business owners thought it through, they would have the answer: These same private, careless individuals are then going out to eat, or work out or wherever, and inevitably, someone passes along the virus.

Call the governor and her staff all the names you want, but the fact is, however uneven or seemingly inconsistent the roll-out restriction rules has been, enough Oregonians received the message clearly enough to keep our state among the five lowest, per million people, in caseloads and deaths.

I personally feel that, yes, the governor's communications office needs an overhaul, but here is another fact: Everyone, from the governor on down, has been on a learning curve with this virus, and now new variants have entered the picture. Yes, the Brown administration has made mistakes, but frankly, a lot of these errors can be attributed to having to educate oneself, and others, on the fly.

If these business owners really need to vent at someone, they need to look no further than their own community, because, whether or not they realize it, they are acquainted with the folks who are being lax, or outright uncooperative in observing safety protocols. So, these business owners need to impress on their local county and municipal officials to firmly remind everyone that all of us are responsible for getting all of us past this period.

No one is saying people cannot complain, but please, comply while you complain.

Brian McGahren, Tigard

Make a change by supporting environmental bills

This year, Oregon observes an Earth Day like no other.

Since last Earth Day, we have lived through the extended horrors of a pandemic, unprecedented wildfire destruction and painful reverberations of social unrest. Yet today, there are green shoots of opportunity: amazingly effective vaccines, broader dialogue about racial and social justice, and greater consensus about our climate emergency.

The Oregon Legislature is considering three bills that would accelerate our state's response to climate change in ways that would promote energy affordability, create new jobs, weatherize more homes and move us to 100% clean energy, all with a focus on equity and justice. Championing these bills is a grassroots coalition of organizations representing the indigenous, rural and low-income Oregonians and communities of color who have historically borne the brunt of climate change in the form of higher energy burdens and pollution.

These Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity bills (Energy Affordability, Healthy Homes, and 100% Clean Energy for All) have strong sponsorship and bipartisan endorsements but will need backing from Oregonians from all walks of life to get across the finish line.

Honor Earth Day this year with action by calling your legislator and asking them to support this legislation.

Evan Reynolds, Raleigh Hills

Keep Medicare Advantage healthy for the people it serves

We are looking to Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici to use her voice in Congress to advocate for Oregon's seniors by working to strengthen and protect Medicare Advantage, which is used by over 415,000 Oregon residents, including over 80,000 in the congresswoman's district.

Both of us use a Medicare Advantage plan for our healthcare needs, and we couldn't be more pleased with the quality of care. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our plan ensured access to virtual telehealth appointments with doctors and specialists, all fully covered under our plan, giving us peace of mind throughout a stressful time for seniors.

Cost is another important consideration for us. Both of us being retired, we watch our expenses like most people. And while we live a comfortable lifestyle, we cannot afford to pay unexpected copays or expensive monthly premiums. Luckily, our Medicare Advantage plan keeps our costs low and consistent.

Congresswoman Bonamici should continue to support Medicare Advantage because of the way it protects seniors in her district, and across the state. We could not be more grateful for our plan and are looking forward to seeing it strengthen, not weaken.

Terry and Kathleen Tobin, Bethany

Place history and historical documents in proper context

History can be tricky. When we evaluate it, do we do so within the context of our present times or within the context of the times the event happened?

For example, some people are offended that the writers of the American Constitution did not include women or people of color. As such, they believe the Constitution should be discarded.

If you look at 1787 within the context of the times, I think you can easily make the case that the Constitution was the only game in town. It was very radical in its time.

That being said, it was not cast in stone in the sense that improvements could not be made to it.

I think it is time to decompress our hypersensitivity about history.

Scott Holland, Tigard

Supreme Court ought to reflect our country

From 1800, there has been more than a fourfold increase in members of the U.S. House of Representatives (106-435) including 118 women in 2021 (27%). There has been a threefold increase in states added. Our population has grown from 5.3 million to over 331 million. Ethnic diversity has increased by almost 25% (Hispanics 18.5% and Asians 5.6%). The number of whites has decreased (80-60%), and the percentage of African Americans has remained constant (12.5%). For every 100 females, there are 97.95 males. During the same period, the number of associate justices has increased from 6 to 9 (50%), with 3 women (33%), a percentage commensurate with that in the House.

I conclude that the Supreme Court does not reflect our country's women and ethnic groups proportionally. We should increase the number of justices from eight to 12, allowing the executive branch to appoint another African American and Hispanic, adding an Asian and at least 3 more women.

For those who allege this represents packing, I say the composition of the Court has always favored white men. It is time it mirrors the population. We are a nation of, for, and by (all) the people.

David Nardone, Hillsboro

Now is not the time to hamper drugmakers

I was recently vaccinated for COVID-19, and boy, was that a good feeling.

This past year has felt like a bad dream. But, thanks to the development of multiple vaccines in record time, it finally feels like the nightmare is coming to a close.

As we start to reopen and get accustomed to our "new normal," I hope we will all keep the importance of continued biopharmaceutical innovation top of mind moving forward. Because the reality is, without a robust American pharmaceutical sector, we would not be where we are today.

That is why I was troubled to learn that the Oregon legislature is currently considering implementing a "Drug Affordability Board" to set the prices of medications via Senate Bill 844. While establishing this board might play well politically for some in our Legislature, it is simply just not in the best interest of our most vulnerable patients waiting for new cures and treatments.

It is not hard to understand how allowing a group of appointed officials to set the prices of medications in Oregon could have a negative impact on funding dedicated to the research and development of new medications.

That being said, I do applaud our legislature for trying to address high costs for Oregon patients, but I encourage them to take a closer look at insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers who are actually responsible for the majority of out of pocket spending for patients.

I hope our legislature will do the right thing and find a better solution than SB 844 that doesn't leave patients waiting for new innovations out in the cold.

Rachel McClain, Sherwood

Don't let state rush into tolling highways

The Oregon Department of Transportation's Portland-area freeway toll plan is being rushed.

I live in West Linn, which is in the center of phase one of tolling. ODOT's plan is to start putting tolls on all our freeways in Portland area. Interstate 205 is just the start.

ODOT doesn't know or won't share the projected toll amount or set up cost of this plan. High-tech cameras, tracking, billing and receiving payments will be expensive. Every interchange will need a system.

The toll proceeds do not have to be spent on freeways or stay in your community. The diversion traffic will be substantial. I know the roads and one old narrow bridge across Willamette River in my area can't safely handle much more traffic.

We wasted $175 million on planning for the Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River. This could have been avoided by not rushing into it.

I call for an open forum on this whole project. Tolls could soon be from California to Washington, with zero control of what it buys.

Dave Farmer, West Linn

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