Letters to the Editor
No way to run a city commission
What a way to run a city commission!
The city convinces the voters to support a change in the tax codes that will produce millions of dollars over the next 20 years for urban renewal projects in downtown Tigard.
Before the ink could dry on our ballots, squabbling breaks out among commission members appointed to oversee our large-scale urban renewal program and resignations are submitted.
According to your July 12 article (Downtown Tigard group coming apart at the seams), the behavior of the commission members resembled behavior one might find on an elementary school playground.
If this is an example of how Tigard officials are going to manage our urban renewal efforts, maybe voters should ask for another vote and remove millions of tax dollars from the control of individuals who are unable to establish a minimum civil working relationship.
DEWEY R. HAMILTON
Mental illness not a criminal justice issue
How unfortunate for Mr. Sung Koo Kim that for quite a long time he was a suspect in the highly publicized disappearance of Brooke Willberger (http://www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff/ems/missing_brooke.html). The press built up an imaginary case against Kim for Willberger's disappearance and, as a consequence, police and the public clung to that idea long after he was clearly not the perpetrator. How else to explain his cumulative sentences (see below) of now 14 years and counting, for being mentally ill and stealing college women's underwear and having porn on his computer?
Washington County Circuit Judge Donald R. Letourneau, noting that his (the judge's) daughter will be a college junior next fall, also found Kim guilty of causing 'a sense of alarm in young college women throughout the entire Willamette Valley,' and as we all know this too could be a crime if there was a law against it.
Judges in Oregon have to run for office and that's a real incentive to pander to the public's thirst for revenge. Politics is one reason for Kim's long sentences. That's in addition to Oregon's public policy of allowing summary execution (eg. Jose Mejia Poot, Foud Kaady, Raymond Gwerder) for the mentally ill.
The fact is that in Oregon and all across America we do not really believe in mental illness. We are rugged individualists and believe in the right wing gospel of individual responsibility. Treating mental illness is just coddling the weak and making excuses for criminal behavior, etc.
In civilized industrial societies - mostly in Europe - mental illness is treated as a health problem, not as a criminal justice issue. But, America cannot afford mental health treatment; we have a war on terrorism to pay for.
Tigard council should have allowed input
On July 11 I attended the Tigard City Council meeting as a direct result of the public notice issued by the council which stated that 'anyone wishing to speak on an agenda item should sign on the appropriate sign-up sheet(s). If no sheet is available ask to be recognized by the mayor at the beginning of that agenda item.'
Agenda item N. 8 of the council meeting was listed as 'Comments to Washington County Commissioners Regarding Proposed Bull Mountain Incorporation.' While no additional description was provided, the July 11 Oregonian contained a story which indicated that the Tigard City Council intended to oppose the proposed boundaries for the city of Bull Mountain, within which I reside, and whose incorporation will hopefully be on the November ballot for residents to approve or disapprove.
The July 11 meeting was my first Tigard City Council meeting to ever attend and I eagerly anticipated my opportunity to speak, in accordance with the council's public notice. When agenda item No. 8 was reached, I rose to speak, in accordance with the notice requirements. To my shock, I was denied the opportunity to comment.
What was perhaps the greatest shock to me was the fact that not only was I denied the opportunity to comment, but that the mayor officially noted that in the future the council should limit comments to only those who reside within the city limits. The city of Tigard has asserted governing authority over not only those who reside within the formal city limits, but continues to assert authority over residents living in a significant amount of unincorporated Washington County.
Mayor Dirksen obviously feels that he and his fellow council members can continue to exert that authority and control over residents while denying them the opportunity to comment on issues related to that control.
Fundamental to our system of government in the United States is the right of the governed to be heard.
That right should not, cannot, be abridged by the unilateral will of a governing body. Changing published rules at will, creating discriminatory procedural roadblocks, issuing policy statements which impact citizens without soliciting their input is counter to the fundamental precepts of our democracy and harkens back to a time when our forefathers threw tea into Boston Harbor.
Last night's display of governmental arrogance, epitomized by the mayor's expressed wish that Tigard govern areas over which they willfully deny citizen input, should be a final wake-up call to those impacted by that arrogance. Hopefully the Washington County commissioners will see this final act as usurpation of a citizens right to be heard.
The residents of Bull Mountain have a right to be governed by a government that seeks their input, wants their input and will listen to their input when it is offered, expectations that the city of Tigard rejects.
JEANETTE H. SLEPIAN