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Readers discuss the upcoming West Linn City Council election and the start date for schools.

Todd Jones would bring dedication, care to council

I've been Todd Jones's student, colleague, and neighbor and I can't think of anyone more qualified for the job of city councilor. Todd is very present; if you bring him a question, concern, or celebration, he is completely engaged in that moment with you. His attention and engagement as a councilor means that citizens will be heard and goals will be accomplished. I saw this firsthand when I helped him chaperone students at the Model United Nations conference at the University of Oregon. Over 40 West Linn-Wilsonville School District students were spread across the campus participating in their committees. Todd spent many hours visiting each and every committee, observing our students in action. During our group debrief at the end of each day, he mentioned every student by name and gave them specific praise for what he'd seen. Students beamed with pride and were encouraged to do more good work in the next session. He cares deeply about individuals and our community so I know he'll bring this same level of dedication to the council. I hope you will all join me in voting for Todd Jones for city councilor.

Danielle Grenier Schroeder

West Linn

I support Todd Jones for West Linn City Council

Todd is a collaborative problem-solver and consensus-builder. He approaches each new issue with an open mind and a willingness to dig in — first to learn, and then to understand competing viewpoints before making a decision. This approach, along with his deep understanding of the issues facing the West Linn government, makes him the ideal choice for City Council.

Our children grew up together and our families have been friends for years. Todd has also taught my children at West Linn High School. As a result, I have seen him operate in a range of situations and with a variety of people.

As a teacher, Todd has the uncanny ability to reach and motivate nearly every student. Former students, even years later, express the continuing value in their lives of what he taught them. Outside the classroom, Todd inspires friends to become better educated and engaged citizens. He is one of the most principled and ethical people I know. The way he lives his own life quietly motivates those around him to live better lives as well.

West Linn will benefit with Todd as a councilor.

Melinda Robinson

West Linn

Jones is the right person for council role

Todd Jones (forever Mr. Jones to me) is running to continue serving on the West Linn City Council. Regardless of the fact that I was a student of his back in 2010, his teachings and leadership still resonate with my now professional life and aspirations.

Todd Jones is the person you want in your corner — as a friend, teacher, or City Council member. He advocates passionately, leads without hesitation and practices intellectual empathy in every aspect of his life. If you want to see progress and practical efforts exercised by your local elected officials, vote for Todd Jones — there is no better person to be in your community's corner.

Jackie Steeh

West Linn

Add Jones to City Council team

I have known Todd Jones for nine years. We met through our connection with the West Linn Food Pantry. I was just starting out as a volunteer with the pantry and Todd was a teacher and volunteered there. I was immediately impressed by his people skills and his commitment to serving our clients with food insecurities. Todd delivers boxes of food to clients who are homebound; he does this AFTER a full day of work as a teacher, and never misses a delivery. He is a person who doesn't just advocate for causes; he helps to ensure their success. As impressive as Todd is to be around, I had no idea of the extent of his accomplishments until I read his bio on your website. He is obviously a person who does not crave the spotlight, but instead wants to be part of a team. It is my hope that Todd becomes part of the team of city councilors. I know he will be a great asset.

Phil Rees

West Linn Food Pantry director

School board chair should reconsider first day of school date

Although I don't have children in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, I'm following the issue of the fall term start date with interest. I particularly noted the response of Board Chair Regan Molatore to a request to change the start date so as not to conflict with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, when Jewish children will not be in school. I don't think anyone is asking that Rosh Hashanah be made a school holiday, simply that the start date be changed so students don't miss the very important first day of school. Molatore said that as a public institution, they cannot make decisions based on religion.

But in fact, that decision is made every year for Christmas. It isn't a coincidence that Christmas falls during winter break. It used to be called Christmas vacation until the name was changed so it wouldn't be seen as a religious holiday. Nevertheless, Christmas always falls during winter break, and I can't think of a single instance of kids having to go to school on Christmas. Easter, of course, is on a Sunday, so whether it falls within spring break or not is not of import.

I would urge Molatore to reconsider this important question, especially in the quest to make our community one of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Susan Reep

Wilsonville

First day of school and the High Holy Jewish holiday

The days when school children called winter break "Christmas vacation" and spring break "Easter vacation" are long gone but that was when I attended elementary school. Just one of a handful of Jewish kids in the neighborhood, my family lived in a community that would have looked very similar to the composition in religious diversity as might be in West Linn now. There were two of us in the class that got to make the Hanukkah bulletin board at just about the same time the other kids were putting up the Christmas bulletin board. We divided it right in half! There would be little reason to believe that my non-Jewish friends were aware that Hanukkah was considered a "minor" holiday in the long list of Jewish celebrations. The holiday usually fell so close to Christmas and there was gift giving. In the eyes of a child the differences were perhaps not as apparent. The High Holy Days in the Jewish religion happen to fall on the first day of school this year. The Hebrew calendar dictates the days these holiday fall in the Gregorian calendar and therefore these are different days every year. I don't pretend to know what kind of flexibility there is for the school start date in West Linn-Wilsonville School District, but I can tell you that the Jewish New Year will not fall on Sept. 7 in the next very many years. Just a thought though; if Dec. 25 fell on the first day of school would school be open?

Jan Jester

West Linn

Kirsten Wyatt and Seiji Shiratori need our support

Our children are our greatest asset. Who we vote to put in charge of making decisions within our school district is a vital responsibility we must ALL show up for. There are two people that have stepped up to lead in West Linn-Wilsonville who need our support.

Seiji Shiratori and Kirsten Wyatt have made commitments to:

Lead with science;

Include student voice in decision making;

Integrate policies that support the whole child;

Preserve and expand quality curriculum and education outcomes;

Increase transparency and enact robust family engagement practices.

Above all, they each have their children enrolled in the WLWV District. Their commitment is not superficial or ideological, they've dug in and shown real leadership for their children and every child in our public school system. We must elect leaders, district parents, and dynamic leaders ready on day one. Kirsten and Seiji are just that.

Cody Bellamy

West Linn


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