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The Columbia County Spotlight publishes reader letters on Tim Porter, Betsy Johnson and more.

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Commercial solicitations and campaign announcements will not be accepted as letters to the editor. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity.

Former school board member has had it with Porter

When is the Scappoose school board going to wake up and stop being bamboozled by a manipulative superintendent?

Tim Porter is the Scappoose version of the National School Board Association (NSBA) that demonizes parents for exercising their free speech rights about the concerns of our schools. He accused parents and citizens of Scappoose of security threats and verbally assaulting the very kids they care about. You don't have to have a Ph.D, only half a brain, to know those claims were inflammatory and false.

A public complaint was filed about Porter's statements, and now he is covering up the public record — that is, after he first denied it even existed.

As a former board member, I witnessed the manipulative actions of the superintendent. Porter scrubbed the school district website of any way to contact our elected board members other than to go through a process where he screens all their emails, and for some reason, they continue to allow this.

Porter's lack of integrity doesn't end there. Public records show he has filed bankruptcy three times, in 2000, 2010 and 2020. That is a terrible precedent for someone who made over $174,000 and is in charge of a multi-million-dollar budget with taxpayer money. Everybody makes mistakes or has bad things happen to them, but three times, that's a character flaw.

On Dec. 13, the school board is to take into consideration the public complaint filed about Porter's actions. [Ed.: This letter was received Tuesday, Dec. 7, prior to the school board meeting this week.] He should be dismissed for his bogus allegations about parents and his moral bankruptcy. That will require a majority of board members to no longer allow themselves to be duped and to exercise some real leadership. Let's hope they come to their senses.

Lisa Maloney, Scappoose

We don't need anti-environmentalist Johnson as governor

Recently, Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson announced a run for governor. However, she's raising eyebrows by running as an unaffiliated candidate.

Oregonians should not be fooled by this decision: Johnson has long been a moderate who votes with Republicans on a number of issues.

Most concerning is her position on Oregon's climate and environment. Even as a member of the Democratic Party, Johnson frequently supported the positions of the most conservative factions of the Republican Party.

This is reflected in her opposition to urgently needed measures to combat climate change like the Clean Energy Jobs bill, and more recently, House Bill 2021, a bill (now law) enforcing clean energy standards. She also opposed action on electric vehicle incentives, recycling modernization, energy efficient appliances, and strong land-use laws by allowing luxury homes to be built on exclusive farmland.

This has resulted in multiple environmental groups giving her unacceptably low marks on climate issues. Johnson earned a 41% and a 31% from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters in the 2021 and 2019 legislative sessions respectively. These ratings are very out-of-step with the average Oregonian.

Johnson's record clearly indicates that she is anti-climate and falls short on the issues that matter the most. We need decisive action, and it surely won't come from Sen. Betsy Johnson. Her administration would be catastrophic for Oregon's status as a leader on climate change.

I urge all Oregonians to support candidates who value environmental protection in the 2022 primaries and again in November.

Yusuf Arifin, Bethany

Make climate action top national priority

I have had a passion for the environment since learning about climate change for the first time during my freshman year.

Since then, I have made it a priority to think about the environmental impacts of my lifestyle, from what I eat to what I wear and where I buy it from.

I care about climate change because it is a real threat facing me and my generation. It is a source of anxiety for me, so knowing I am individually doing my part to help make the situation better gives me a sense of relief and gives me purpose.

I want this generation's efforts to ensure that future generations won't have the same stress we are dealing with right now.

Hopefully in the future, the need for action against climate change will not be as urgent. But we need help; we can't do it alone.

Because I value climate action and future generations, I am especially grateful for the climate leadership of U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well as my congresswoman, Suzanne Bonamici. Thank you for all you have done to pass the Build Back Better Act and keep federal climate action a priority.

I encourage these three to continue those efforts no matter how hard, because there will always be people to support you and people like me who are very much appreciative.

For my future and those of many other youth activists, we want nothing more than that security and hope. Thank you again.

Ava Ortiz, Beaverton

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