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The Times has a big stack of reader letters this week as the May 17 primary approaches.

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 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.

Why won't Beaverton ban fireworks?

Kudos to Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty and City Councilor Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg for their recent efforts to ban fireworks in Beaverton. Other nearby cities have already led the way.

Mayor Beaty and Councilor Hartmeier-Prigg fought for fire safety; recognition of the impact of fireworks on veterans, war-zone refugees and others suffering from PTSD; protection of pets and wildlife of our area; and the overall need to enhance, not retreat from, climate resilience.

"Bad" fireworks continue unabated with little to no enforcement. Callers to the Beaverton Police Department or Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue are asked impossible questions such as the exact address where the fireworks originate. When they're 50 feet in the air or stuck in your neighbor's tree, it's impossible to tell.

Many people who live here are driven from their homes around July 4 and New Year's Eve because they cannot stand the noise and air filled with cordite. If you have COPD, try breathing outside on July 4.

Instead of understanding these real concerns, the remaining councilors — Marc San Soucie, Laura Mitchell, Nadia Hasan and Alison Tivnon — showed a shocking disregard for the pain and anguish of veterans, as well as a callous dismissal of the impacts of fireworks on animals.

As they pontificated their ill-defined objections from their cozy Zoom cocoons which protect them from really hearing and seeing their constituents, they showed how out of touch they are. They referred to "nice" neighborhoods and "nice" people who wouldn't do anything with "bad" fireworks. They offered no solutions to enforcement.

In the end, they decided they might support a temporary ban if a red flag warning was issued. But they chose to do nothing else. They remain part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Wendy Kroger, Beaverton

Former Tigard rep backing King for Senate

As the former state representative for the Tigard area and a lifelong supporter of public education, I am supporting Chelsea King for Senate District 13, which encompasses Tigard.

As chair of the West Linn-Wilsonville school board, Chelsea has led the way to develop a career and technical high school that will open in 2023. She has developed a K-12 Spanish immersion program that is on track to become the first in the state with a bi-literacy seal. She has also made it a priority to expand the number of counselors and school psychologists in the school district.

The Legislature needs someone who not only knows public education, but has been a champion for the programs children need, and Chelsea is that proven champion.

I strongly urge your support for Chelsea King for State Senate District 13.

Margaret Doherty, Tigard

WashCo shouldn't embrace radical reforms

Reform. It is something we all strive for. Done the wrong way, it can lead to unintended consequences.

What does reform the wrong way look like? Just look to Portland and Multnomah County. They voted in a radical district attorney that, in turn, defunded the police, stopped prosecuting criminals, let lawlessness be the status quo, and, sadly, left countless crime victims in his wake. [Ed.: The Portland City Council, not the Multnomah County DA, voted to cut the police budget in 2020. Police funding has since increased.]

Has it worked? No. Crime is up, business are leaving and residents feel unsafe. I am a business owner in Portland and have seen the transformation firsthand of a once bustling and vibrant city converted to empty storefronts boarded up with graffiti, violent nightly protests, increased police response times, and people fleeing to feel safer elsewhere.

Instead, there needs to be a more balanced approach to reform that addresses the root causes of crime while balancing the safety of our community. District Attorney Kevin Barton has done just that. He has made Washington County the statewide leader of treatment courts that are innovative and groundbreaking. He is also working on Homeless Specialty Court and Mental Health Diversion Program to get defendants the help they need and avoid the criminal system altogether.

These are the responsible reforms and smart policies we can count on from District Attorney Kevin Barton. I urge you to vote for Kevin Barton this May and keep the Portland mess out of Washington County.

Thomas Frank, West Linn

We can't let Big Tobacco win

I'm a Baby Boomer whose parents smoked, and they developed cancer because of their smoking.

As a grandmother of four, I'm concerned about the future for my little ones and all youth in our community. Reducing tobacco use is important to me. I'm grateful that Washington County became the first in the state to protect kids by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products. I'm not surprised that the tobacco industry opposes these efforts.

Make no mistake: Tobacco companies aggressively target youth with flavored products like strawberry, cotton candy and minty sweet menthol, designed to lure them into a lifetime addiction.

Big Tobacco knows that flavors hook kids and will create new generations of tobacco users. It's why tobacco companies like RJ Reynolds and Altria, the parent company of e-cigarette giant JUUL, are pouring money into efforts to try and repeal Washington County's flavored tobacco ordinance on our May ballot.

Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products is critical to protect future generations. Unless smoking rates decline, 68,000 Oregon kids under age 18 will die prematurely from tobacco use.

Big Tobacco has targeted our communities for too long. That's why I'm joining parents, doctors, nurses and organizations like the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to vote "no" on Measure 34-314. I urge you to vote "no" too.

Pat Salas, Aloha

Retired USAF colonel unimpressed with McPeak

Lake Oswego's Gen. Merrill McPeak's comment "Nothing is better than combat when you want to have a good time…" is offensive ("This story needed to be told," feature published April 21, 2022).

Read the April 14, 2022, feature quoting retired Gen. Merrill McPeak.

I served under both McPeak and his successor as chief of staff of the Air Force, Gen Ron Fogelman (ironically back row, 3rd from left in the article's group photo). The article gives a hint to the excessive, even for a fighter pilot, ego of Gen. McPeak. His leadership of the Air Force was, to be charitable, controversial. His successor spent much effort undoing some of McPeak's worst ideas.

I also served in Vietnam, flying C-130s with body bags of Americans and stretchers carrying the wounded.

I hope the general will refrain from offensive remarks in the future.

Michael R. Gallagher, Hillsboro

Easy call to re-elect Treece as commissioner

As a former educator and longtime resident of Washington County District 2, I ask my fellow residents to join me in voting to re-elect Pam Treece as our Washington County commissioner.

With her decades of experience working to make our communities stronger, Pam is the clear choice in this race. She brings her background as a school teacher, small business owner, leader in economic development, and active community volunteer to the work of the commission every day.

There are many serious issues facing our county — homelessness and a housing crisis, pandemic recovery, community safety, and more — and I trust Pam to continue to work hard to tackle these issues.

Regardless of the issue, I know Pam listens to those most impacted and works to find real solutions. Her broad support from dozens of organizations, elected officials, and community leaders demonstrates her collaborative approach and the partnerships she will bring to the work of the county.

While there may be some hard choices on our ballot, this one should be easy. You can count on Pam Treece to listen, collaborate, and keep working for the betterment of Washington County. Vote Pam Treece for Washington County Commission District 2 by May 17.

Lynda Falkenstein, Cedar Mill

Congress must take action on puppy mills

A dog known only as Golden Retriever #142 was raised in a USDA-licensed puppy mill in Iowa, one of hundreds of dogs living in horrific conditions. She died there after months of suffering extreme neglect. USDA inspectors witnessed her deterioration at this federally licensed puppy mill and were responsible for protecting her but took no action to save her.

In response, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced Goldie's Act (H.R. 6100) to ensure that no more animals meet Goldie's fate in USDA-licensed commercial breeding facilities. Goldie's Act would require inspectors to take welfare violations seriously and to intervene in cases of suffering dogs. It would also require meaningful penalties for violations, and direct inspectors to share evidence of violations with local law enforcement.

This act will bring much-needed reform in the USDA's enforcement policies. Congress must pass Goldie's Act to ensure that the USDA honors its responsibility to these vulnerable animals.? Please join me in contacting Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and urging her to cosponsor and pass Goldie's Act to protect vulnerable dogs and puppies.

Paige Lemhouse, Beaverton

Retirees shouldn't be forced to subsidize schools

The Beaverton School District (BSD) continues its quest to extract funds from local taxpayers at an unsustainable rate. The previous two bond measures that passed totaled nearly a billion dollars. Now we are being told the proposed new measure will cost owners of the median assessed-value home approximately $76 "the first year." What would it cost us in subsequent years?

And, the notion of a $300,000 median-priced home is not reflective of the current reality for many property owners. (Just try to find a decent house for sale at that price within the BSD.)

As always, proponents are touting improvements to "safety" and "security" as benefits of this money grab. That is pretty vague. We also should cast a skeptical eye at the costs associated with recent expenditures by the district. The cost per square foot of construction on recent school buildings far exceeds typical projects in the private sector, and many of the amenities are excessive for a school system with declining enrollment.

We are in a period of high inflation. This is no time to add to the economic burden of local residents. If anything, we need to have a ballot measure providing tax relief for citizens. I suggest we start by exempting those who have reached their full retirement age from paying for an education system that they have supported for decades while the outcomes (graduation rates, student proficiency, etc.) have steadily declined.

Let's try this: For each year after reaching full retirement age, a reduction of 10% should be made on a senior's tax burden. If a person is fortunate to live another 10 years, they could then pass their remaining days free from further obligation. This could be an "opt-in" system so those who wish to continue supporting public services of any type can participate at their choosing.

Dave Murray, Cedar Hills

Hutzler brings volunteer spirit to Auditor's Office

May I offer my support of John Hutzler for Washington County auditor. Please vote for John in the upcoming election on May 17.

Over several years, I have learned of John's driving commitment as a volunteer. He has joined and supported many fine community organizations, which he offers his kindness and devotion. He also brings a strong sense of fairness. John wants everyone to be included in our success.

With his deep desire to give, John also comes to us with years of professional public service and experience. His previous years of service show John's skill at learning, analyzing, and organizing to help our county's wide variety of causes.

I am confident that as auditor, John Hutzler will continue to successfully examine Washington County's programs and operations to determine their effectiveness, efficiency and accountability.

Matt Schiewe, Garden Home

Teachers union is all in for Decker as DA

As educators, my colleagues and I understand how healthcare, education, human services, and the criminal justice system all are interconnected. We see the impacts every day in our classrooms.

To give youth safe and productive futures, we need public leaders in every field who support preventive services and will collaborate across sectors. One of those leaders is Brian Decker, and he has my support in the race for Washington County district attorney.

The factors that can derail a student's success in school are the same challenges that often are root causes of crime: food insecurity, housing insecurity, lack of mental health services and substance abuse. Our community needs a county prosecutor who will prepare charges, sentences and plea agreements that truly fit the crimes and that hold potential for rehabilitating the offender.

The current DA in Washington County favors severe punishments, even for nonviolent offenses. Prosecution of minors as juvenile delinquents has climbed more than 50% during his time in office. This harshness doesn't bring safety when the original offenses — as they often do — stem from mental illness, addiction, and financial strain.

As Washington County DA, Brian Decker will demand accountability from offenders and offer rehabilitation services in appropriate cases. That is the most effective method for ending the "school to prison pipeline," the decades-long tendency to direct students (particularly students of color and students with disabilities) into the criminal justice system without addressing underlying causes.

Educators know well the power of prevention: We have seen students and whole families thrive once they get access to healthcare or stable housing. We will see benefits for our entire community when the criminal justice system incorporates more treatment and prevention as well.

That's possible when we elect Brian Decker as Washington County DA on May 17.

Sara Schmitt

President, Beaverton Education Association

Harrington boasts strong record on environment

Voters who care about our drinking water supply and forest health should choose Kathryn Harrington for county chair.

Much of our county's water flows out of our state-owned Tillamook Forest. Washington County has 45,000+ acres of state forest.

Harrington has consistently supported management of these public lands in our counties to provide a wide range of values, including protection of our drinking water supply. Despite strong pressure from the timber industry to convert all our public lands to tree farms, Harrington has stood firm for a balanced plan that considers all of Washington County's interests.

Harrington is the right choice for conservation-minded voters who value balanced forest management.

Bob Van Dyk, Forest Grove

Vote Kotek for governor to protect our climate

Oregonian voters have the opportunity to make climate change a top priority by electing Tina Kotek as governor.

Our state has passed environmental legislation with her leadership as speaker of the House, but much more is needed to protect the progress made in Oregon, and she is the leader we need to make that happen. Some of her top priorities are to transition our homes and buildings away from fossil fuels, increase climate resiliency for frontline communities, and decrease pollution from transportation.

The time to act is now to address climate change — vote for Tina Kotek.

Ann Scherner, Tigard

Decker will endanger our children

As the month of April ends, we wrap up Child Abuse Awareness Month. Now more than ever, we must think about the safety and protection of the county's most vulnerable population: our children.

The election for the office of Washington County district attorney is vital to the safety and protection of our community.

Our Child Abuse Team is made up of five experienced prosecutors who carry full caseloads of crimes exclusively related to the physical and sexual abuse of children. We see some of the most egregious and heart-wrenching cases and, as a team, we aggressively prosecute those offenders.

The pandemic and shutdown of schools and community has left our office with a historically high caseload and thousands of referrals from DHS, CPS, and police investigations. Not only have the numbers of child abuse referrals gone up, but unfortunately, the severity of the abuse and neglect appears to have increased as well. The five of us have worked tirelessly to bring justice to the children and families, but we are feeling the crush of an overloaded and underfunded system.

To elect Brian Decker, a man who has publicly advocated for less police resources, less funding, less incarceration, and who would support abolishing mandatory minimum sentences under Measure 11, would put our children in danger.

We have seen what happens when someone with no managerial or little prosecutorial experience takes over a DA's office in our neighboring Multnomah County and doesn't invest the resources into these cases. The only way out is more resources, not fewer. The only way to get there is under proven and effective leadership, not from Brian Decker, who has extremely limited trial and prosecutorial experience and no experience working with child victims.

Brian Decker wants to protect the people who abuse children. Instead, help us to protect our children and victims and vote to re-elect Kevin Barton as Washington County district attorney.

Andy Pulver, Washington County Senior Deputy District Attorney

Chris Lewman, Washington County Deputy District Attorney

Sara Loebner, Washington County Deputy District Attorney

Rayney Meisel, Washington County Deputy District Attorney

Jason Weiner, Washington County Deputy District Attorney

Supporting Salinas for Congress

In one of my first conversations with Andrea Salinas, she talked not only about the typical issues important to her base but also about problems facing the fishing industry on Oregon's coast, urban forests and much more. That breadth of knowledge spoke not only to her passion for the state, but also to her commitment to representing every single one of her constituents.

Andrea has been a remarkable state legislator. She hit the ground running in Salem, and I believe she'll do the same in D.C.

I hope you'll join me in voting for her to represent us in the Sixth Congressional District.

Gary Stein, Beaverton

Marchandt will advocate for vulnerable in House

Like most Oregonians, I believe our bodies belong to us. Freedom cannot be achieved until every person has the power to make decisions about when and whether to become a parent.

Sadly, right-wing politicians are dismantling access to abortion, and the Supreme Court appears ready to overturn Roe v. Wade by this summer — which would officially erase nearly 50 years of precedent.

While abortion rights are protected in Oregon statute, we cannot be complacent. I'm voting for Zeloszelos Marchandt to represent me in the Oregon Legislature because he is committed to protecting our healthcare rather than decimating it.

Raised by a single mom who couldn't afford rent, Zelos deeply understands the struggle to make ends meet. As a parent and a small-business owner, he will fight for people who are being left behind by economic inequality. If elected, he would become the state's first openly transgender lawmaker.

Make no mistake: This election is about who has power over you, who has the authority to make decisions for you and who can control how your future is going to be. Please join me in voting for Zeloszelos Marchandt for state representative.

Janet Sullivan, Aloha

Chaichi can bring Beaverton advocacy to Salem

The Portland metro area alone is home to more than 10,000 people of Iranian heritage. Yet, in its long history, the Oregon Legislature has yet to have an Iranian American represent constituents in its chamber.

As a young, well-connected Iranian American in the metro area, I know just how important it is for us to make history by sending Farrah Chaichi to the Oregon State House as the representative for House District 35.

Beyond being the daughter of an Iranian immigrant, Farrah is a leader with deep integrity. I've had the pleasure of seeing Farrah in action.

When she was the chair of the Beaverton Human Rights Advisory Commission, I was her vice-chair. And when I took over the role of chair, Farrah was my vice-chair.

Throughout our years of service together, I observed no better fighter on our board for human rights than Farrah. I knew that she was not afraid of pushing the envelope to advance the lives of our community members — the exact kind of representative we need in Salem.

Farrah shares my view that housing is a human right, and that climate change is not a problem for the future, but rather a crisis of today. We worked together to lead the charge against the City of Beaverton's camping ban and pushed to create additional shelters for houseless residents in the city.

Farrah is not just someone who says she cares about human rights and the most pressing issues facing our area — she has rolled up her sleeves and actually done the work at the grassroots level to make change. That is what she will continue to do in Salem.

So, let's make history and allow the strong Iranian community in the area to see ourselves represented in the state House by someone who will not only make history by who she is — but also by what she does.

Cameron Monfared, Beaverton

Woods for economy, livability and education
As a King City resident and with a long career in business, I'm very impressed with Aaron Woods' credentials. He has the work experience that will make him invaluable as a state senator from our District 13. Aaron has a long background in IT as a senior executive with Techtronix and Xerox as well as being on the boards of Clackamas Community College and Digitunity. He will also bring much needed expertise in land use, planning, and development, to protect our communities thanks to his service as a Wilsonville planning commissioner. and prior to that, being on the Wilsonville Development Review Board. Woods also brings expertise in management and financial skills that will be so important in handling our state's budget revenues and expenditures. He is already reaching out to leaders to assure that the appropriate planning is in place to assure we maximize federal infrastructure funding. In a world that has become so polarized, Aaron Woods seeks to help our state of Oregon work better and more efficiently to help all people by working to establish a digital equity officer within the broadband office to serve as coordinator for all state-level strategies and programs to focus on achieving affordable broadband services, access to devices, and the needed training to use them. Along with his work skills, Aaron is a kind, honest, compassionate family man. Recently retired, he has the time, energy, skill set, and determination to work hard for his constituents and all the people in our beautiful state. Linda Cahan, King City

Re-elect Harrington for Washington County chair

Kathryn Harrington deserves another term as Washington County chair.

As a volunteer community leader, I have worked with Kathryn many times on various issues for many years. Kathryn is smart, thoughtful, engaged and hard working. Even when Kathryn and I have disagreed, she is still courteous and professional using logic backed by her research.

I respected Kathryn's hard work in Metro, and that respect has grown in her leadership as Washington County chair. Washington County is better off with Kathryn leading it, deserving of four more years.

Kevin O'Donnell, Bethany

Former employee urges vote for Hutzler

John Hutzler has been a vigilant elected auditor for Washington County and her citizens and should be re-elected.

As a former employee of John's, I have witnessed the impact of his uncompromising commitment to quality and adherence to government auditing standards. Through John's leadership, he and his team continue to increase the accountability of county government, improve the effectiveness of county operations, and protect the public's hard-earned funds.

John's commitment to quality, audit standards, and innovation have earned his office national awards. I experienced him to be a compassionate boss who, by his example, challenged us to develop and perform beyond our norm. Working for him has been a highlight of my 24 years of auditing.

John's established relationships with county leaders, and his knowledge of the strengths and challenges of county operations, make him uniquely effective compared to less experienced alternatives.

These are challenging times for Washington County. You have an important choice in this election. Vote for John Hutzler for elected auditor.

Latham Stack, Albany

Hutzler for re-election as Washington County auditor

I am writing to highlight the qualifications of John Hutzler as Washington County auditor in the upcoming May 17 election.

John's proven, wide-ranging analytical abilities have been key to his success in carrying out the responsibilities of auditor since 2011. With a law degree as well as undergraduate degrees in both psychology and mathematics, John is uniquely qualified to analyze the efficacy of programs that range from healthcare to housing, from finance to courts, and from cybersecurity to construction.

Having served Washington County as criminal justice coordinator and county auditor for over 17 years, John understands Washington County and its many departments far better than his opponent, who spent most of her career in Portland city government. In her three years with Washington County, she has completed only one audit of one department.

We need John's experience to hold county leaders accountable for what they do with our tax dollars.

Please vote by May 17 to re-elect John Hutzler as Washington County auditor.

Dale Feik, Forest Grove

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