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The Spotlight's readers write in about Sheriff Brian Pixley, Scappoose schools and more.

An open letter to Sheriff Brian Pixley

I am writing in regard to your letter to Gov. Kate Brown regarding the mask and vaccine mandates.

Are you aware of the governor's constitutional powers, which as you point out you are duty-bound to adhere to? Would you be okay with one of your subordinates not following your chain of command?

You took an oath of office to serve and protect. We are in the midst of a pandemic which has killed more than 600,000 people in the U.S. alone.

Wearing masks, social distancing and vaccinations are our only known resources to save lives. It is really that big of an imposition to take such small measures to ensure the safety of members of our shared society?

Speaking of shared society, which hospitals in Columbia County will you be sending your COVID-stricken constituents to? The truth is, there are no local hospitals in Columbia County. Residents will be sent to other county hospitals. As of Aug. 18, 93% of Oregon ICU beds are occupied. Soon there will be no place to send them.

How does your decision support your claim that it is your responsibility to provide for the safety of those in Columbia County?

I struggle to understand how a public servant can have so little concern for the well-being of others. It is obvious you are just playing to your base for votes. Shame on you.

Helen J. Gross, St. Helens

Unhappy with Pixley's defiant letter

This is an open letter in response to the recent letter published in the name of Sheriff Brian Pixley, in defiance of Gov. Kate Brown's mask mandate.

The majority of Americans agree with mask mandates at this time (72%). We sympathize with our governors who are trying to save lives. As you are neither a medical professional nor the holder of a legislative or executive office, please refrain from misrepresenting our county with anti-mask misinformation.

The delta variant is many times more transmissible than previous variants, and children and young adults are more susceptible to it — this fact is particularly crucial as schools open for the new academic year.

The whole country is in the grip of a surge. As of today's report (Aug. 23, 2021), Oregon has 4,701 new cases (the tip of the iceberg), and 24 deaths. Columbia County has seen a leap in numbers (80 reported today); we have cumulatively lost 33 souls to this scourge. Country-wide, one out of five ICUs is now at full capacity, with more cases coming in daily.

Our medical system is again at the brink of being overwhelmed — in fact, is overwhelmed in states unfortunate enough to have governors who oppose mask mandates.

All around the country, a vocal minority is trying to subvert the will of the majority regarding public health. The situation is both tragic and absurd. Please don't add your voice to the cacophony, Sheriff Pixley.

Margaret Trenchard-Smith

Member, Columbia County Coalition for Human Dignity

Pixley misunderstands his duty to the law

Someone — maybe the county's legal counsel — needs to explain to Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley that he took an oath to enforce the laws of the state and county and not just the laws he personally believes in.

The sheriff says he won't enforce any mask mandates and that only local officials should have this authority. He says the governor's order is not constitutional.

The sheriff surely realizes that only the courts decide what is constitutional and what is not. I might have a view of a law but the law is the law unless it is challenged in court and overturned.

It is depressing to realize that a law enforcement official doesn't seem to have a basic understanding of our constitutional system.

Ray Horn, Scappoose

Ode to a never-to-be-read letter on Pixley

I have just completed writing a long, well-argued letter addressing the damage to the social fabric of Columbia County recently wrought by Sheriff Brian Pixley in his recently published letter to Gov. Kate Brown.

However, as no one appears to be interested in listening to anyone outside their respective tribes any longer, I have crumpled it up and tossed it in the trash.

John Riutta, Scappoose

Former OHSU spokesperson fires back

The claim by the animal rights lobbying group White Coat Waste Project that animal studies taking place at Oregon Health & Science University are "wasteful" (letter to the editor, published Aug. 27, 2021) is blatantly false.

Read the letter from Natalie Warhit published Aug. 27, 2021.

The current pandemic has repeatedly demonstrated the critical need for animal studies. Animal research helped scientists develop safe and effective vaccines in record time. The groundbreaking use of mRNA snippets to fight the coronavirus — an approach used in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — was developed years ago in animal studies.

Animal research also demonstrated how the virus spreads, helping us prevent transmission. Studies in animals over several decades gave us the previously FDA-approved drugs that we are now using to fight the disease in infected patients. At the same time, animals are helping us develop new and better therapies.

Now is a time when we need a lot more science and a lot less political spin.

Jim Newman

Director of Strategic Communications, Americans for Medical Progress

Ex-Scappoose school board member doesn't like what he sees

I served on the Scappoose school board for four years in hopes of making sure our children were being served with their best interest at heart. I found out very quickly that it didn't matter what I thought or for that matter what parents wanted.

I saw way too many parents express their concerns, only to be brushed off and not heard. A majority of board members and the superintendent were only going to do what the state and other bureaucrats were imposing from Salem.

Parents need to realize that there is an agenda for what the state wants your kids to believe. Education is no longer about facts, knowledge, information, and teaching kids how to think and discern. It is about the beliefs and values the state dictates is acceptable.

Too often, students are being taught to hate America and to apologize for

their skin color if they happen to be Caucasian. This is critical race theory, and yes, it is in Scappoose schools. I have spoken with many people that want no part of this teaching, as it divides the kids even more than what small amount of division there is now. I have spoken with minority parents as well and they feel the same way.

If I had kids in schools right now, I would definitely look into other options like home school or private schooling, so they have a chance of not being led down this slippery slope.

Parents need to stand up and be heard. Even though the majority of board members are disinterested in what parents and community members want, people still need to go to the board meetings and voice their concerns.

God bless America, and God help our young children!

Tim Brooks, Scappoose


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