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This week's letters respond to false claims of voter fraud, allegations of police misconduct in Forest Grove and more.

Trump is a sore loser

President Donald Trump continues to claim election fraud, but the courts repeatedly reject his lawsuits because his lawyers are unable to present any evidence of fraud.

Trump is tragically immature and can not accept rejection by the voters. Yet, he remains president and has a duty to protect the integrity of our presidential voting system.

He needs a stern warning: Mr. President, put up or shut up.

Richard Botteri, Raleigh Hills

Let's learn from Trump's tantrum

It is painful for me to say this, but perhaps we owe Donald Trump a thank you. His outrageous behavior has alerted us to the serious flaws in our system. We should take care of these before another deranged autocrat comes to power.

First, get rid of the Electoral College. The person who gets the most votes should always be the winner.

Second, limit the power of presidents to issue pardons to people who have been legally convicted of crimes.

Third, shorten the time between the election the assumption of office by any new administration. Thirty days should be sufficient.

Many other changes should be made, including limiting the campaign season to six weeks as they do in Britain. But these would be a good start.

David Pauli, Forest Grove

Let's move on disaster preparedness

There can be no argument that natural disasters caused by climate change are becoming more destructive and more frequent. They are also more disruptive for families and communities. Extended power and communication outages caused by these disasters increase risk, as do disruptions to critical infrastructure like roads and bridges.

These events are not going away. It is in all of our interests, at every level of community, that we prepare ourselves for these disasters. For example, here in Oregon, my company is working on neighborhood earthquake resilience, focusing on energy and communications. So we are familiar with disaster planning, and the vital role it plays in keeping communities safe when bad things happen. Flooding is a prime example where planning and investment can protect lives and property.

We support federal legislation, like the recently introduced Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act, that will ensure that federal government, as it builds and rebuilds critical infrastructure, plans for future natural disaster risks. This bipartisan bill requires federal investments in flood-prone areas to be more resilient to future risks, such as sea-level rise and flooding. Without action, tens of thousands of federally funded assets, such as water utilities, roads and bridges, hospitals and schools remain vulnerable to the vicious cycle of flooding resulting in mounting costs to rebuild.

Research shows that every dollar spent on exceeding current building codes to better withstand flooding can save society between $5 and $7 on average. In addition to reduced damages, these investments have been shown to create jobs, support faster economic recovery following disasters, and reduce the potential of exacerbating hardships communities may already be facing.

This historic hurricane season shows us we cannot sit idly by in the face of more powerful natural disasters. This bill is a good step forward.

Chris Robertson

Chief Executive Officer, Cascade Resilience LLC

We can't excuse police misconduct

I am deeply disturbed by the recent incident involving Forest Grove Police Officer Steven Teets. According to news accounts, an apparently inebriated Teets attacked a Forest Grove homeowner's large Black Lives Matter flag in the middle of the night and then threatened the homeowner when she opened her door.

Read our Nov. 13, 2020, story on the civil and criminal allegations against Forest Grove Police Officer Steven Teets.

I have been a public school teacher for nine years. It is crucial for me as a person in a position of power to treat my high school students with dignity and respect, even when I disagree or am contending with personal trials that may affect my mood and attitude.

In remote learning, I serve my students with my camera always on, not just when it's convenient for me, and regardless of their race, religion, gender, color, ability, political views or choice of yard sign. To fail at this would be to fail at my job, and would result in breaking down the delicate balance of trust that is paramount to a healthy classroom community.

This balance of trust is in no way dissimilar to that of our community as a whole. In my position, If I were to commit an act similar to that of Officer Teets, I would be terminated. I state this not as an exaggeration but because there are countless records of this occurring, including two former colleagues who were separately terminated for lesser offenses.

I oversee approximately 200 students per year — not an entire community, and not with daily access to a gun or other lethal tools afforded for my job, and I fail to understand this double standard. I state with confidence that if I were to have behaved similarly, I would believe my termination to be just.

I have invested an enormous part of my life to be a teacher, but if I had issues that prevented me from being stable, safe, and trustworthy then I should not be permitted to remain in a position of power, and I should not be protected from these natural consequences.

None of us are immune to mistakes. We are all human, and fallible. There is no shame in this fact. Shame lies in protecting dangerous behavior. It lies in the insidious practice of protecting our friends or colleagues regardless of the level of damage we are aware they have caused. Shame lies in waiting until we know people are watching before doing what is right.

Your community is watching. We make choices as individuals each day to act as unifying agents of positive change or to widen the divide that results from distrust over witnessing justice delayed, watered down, or not served. These divides cannot be repaired where trust isn't alive and actively maintained.

I implore you to do what is right, and to begin this repair.

Emily Lux, Forest Grove

We should know that our system works

I have lost all respect for our elected government, from both sides of the aisle. Neither are working for the people but only for their own self-interests.

The Democrats scream that the presidential election was fair, the Republicans scream just as loud that it was fraudulent. Rather than go into the significant number of fraud allegations, I would simply ask why the Democrat machine would not want to have an audit of the presidential election. [Ed.: There has been no evidence of voter fraud. Multiple states, including swing states such as Georgia and Michigan, have conducted or plan to conduct audits of the election as provided by state law.] After all, if the election was fair as they maintain, and proven as such, 1) President-elect Joe Biden would enter his term without any cloud of doubt and 2) those who cry out that the election was a fraud would be silenced.

If the election were proven to be fraudulent, I would ask that the presidential election be standardized throughout the nation, where there would never be another election where voter fraud could occur. If this is not addressed more and more citizens will feel that they do not have a voice, or worse, their voice has been stolen. And our Republic will be lost.

Rick Johnson, Newberg

Police force should protect us, not abuse us

I'm writing concerning the harassment and vandalism committed by an off-duty police officer in Forest Grove on Halloween night. As reported in The Oregonian, he attacked the family's Black Lives Matter flag and also banged on their door trying to get into the house while apparently intoxicated.

He was later picked up by a fellow officer whose body camera was turned off, and taken home instead of to the police station. This implies that officer was not taking his colleague's actions seriously.

This incident would be disturbing if it had happened to a white family, but the fact that this is a family of color with a Black Lives Matter flag makes it even worse. It indicates this officer targeted them due to their race or their support for Black Lives Matter or both. This behavior casts a shadow on the whole police department in Forest Grove.

I'm sure it makes any person of color living here a bit uncomfortable about calling the police in case of an emergency. What kind of help will they get from Officer Steven Teets and his cronies?

I've lived here for many years and raised two children here. This has always seemed to be a very safe place. I received help from the police when my car was stolen; they actually got the car back to us, and I was very appreciative. I would hate to see this community become less safe due to the behavior of those whose job is to protect people.

I know there is an investigation going on and I hope the result of that will be the swift firing of Officer Teets. He may have an alcohol problem, and I certainly hope that he is able to get help, but this is not safe behavior for a police officer.

Carol Ellis, Forest Grove


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