Passion of small-town politicians is admirable
The other day while looking out the window at the old Reynolds Metals site, wondering about what is soon to happen there, I began musing about all the things I like, and don't, about Troutdale, things that have caught my eye during the four years I have lived here.
I was just musing. Then I spied a lady, leaning on her cane, going house-to-house, talking only with people who were outside, not ringing bells, just chatting, intruding on no one. I watched. Up one street and down another. Indefatigably. On a hot day, too. It was Pat Smith. She is running for city council. And she was out there working. Hard.
While I have noticed some irritating things about the area since moving here, those are definitely outweighed by the many good things that make me glad I did. And the deep involvement of our small-town politicians has to be at the very top of the list.
Smith told me she has visited more than 2,000 houses on this 'trail.' That is a lot of commitment. On a cane. And after pondering this I had to conclude that if she is willing to work that hard just to get to where she wants to end up, it stands to reason she will work that hard on the city council and for the people of Troutdale, too.
Having said all of the foregoing, though, I must add that no sooner did I finish writing it than Norm Thomas, Smith's opponent, knocked at the door, also campaigning, house-to-house. In the evening.
And Jim Kight stopped by, he who was instrumental in getting our sewage treatment plant moved to an inoffensive site. Kight has decided to return to the city council. He was a player before and should be allowed to be such again. It appears he makes things happen.
And that's the beauty of living in Troutdale. Our politicians take their platforms seriously, yet they are available, easy to contact and while they differ in their deliveries and in their beliefs, from time to time, generally things do get done, which benefits the voters who live here.
Lim gets an A plus on education
I believe few legislators did more for Oregon's students last session than Rep. John Lim, (R-Gresham). Lim worked very hard to pass House Bill 3129, which increased math and English requirements for high school students to graduate.
Rep. Lim worked with education chairperson Linda Flores, the governor's office and the Department of Education to amend HB3129 so the requirements could be implemented in a time frame pleasing to all school districts. I applaud his ability to build team members when it comes to making laws. John Lim has built a reputation of 'crossing the aisle' to write and co-sponsor good public policy.
The United States is in the bottom among the industrialized nations in terms of math. Lim's efforts ensure that Oregon can compete in a global economy where many technical jobs requiring math are being outsourced.
Pass Measure 26-80 to protect natural areas and parklands
The residents in Gresham and East County have a historic opportunity this November to pass Measure 26-80, the regional natural areas, parks and streams bond measure. This measure would protect up to 5,000 acres of natural areas and parkland that support wildlife, clean water, and access to nature in our neighborhoods. It would do this all for a cost of less than $3 a month (half the price of a trip to the cinema) to the average homeowner.
If voters pass Measure 26-80, Gresham and East County would directly benefit from numerous natural area and park-related acquisitions. The measure directs governments to purchase and permanently protect land along Johnson Creek and the Columbia Slough, in the Gresham Buttes and the Sandy River Gorge.
The measure includes a community grant program that would secure open space in park and natural area deficient neighborhoods. Measure 26-80 funds would also go to help extend the Columbia Slough and Springwater Corridor Trails as well as the Gresham-Fairview Trail connecting the two through the heart of Gresham.
East County particularly benefits from a local share funding formula that levies funds from assessed property values but distributes them to cities based on population. Due to the number of unprotected natural areas in East County, raising funds regionally to protect natural areas in our community benefits everyone downstream.
If we don't pass Measure 26-80 many of these natural areas and parklands will be forever lost to development or else increasing land values will make future acquisition prohibitive. That's why it is so urgent that voters pass Measure 26-80 now.
East County's growing neighborhoods, both old and new, will greatly benefit from the passage of a Measure 26-80. We urge Gresham residents to vote yes for Measure 26-80 for natural areas, parks and streams.
JASON HOWARD, STEVE BENNETT, KATHIE MINDEN and LEE DAYFIELD
Hussein, bin Laden clearly had a link prior to war
I read with interest Michael Streeter's letter (Oct. 7, 'Americans need a brain connected to our backbone'). He claims more innocents have been killed in the three years we've been involved in Iraq than under Saddam Hussein.
An estimated 300,000 civilians were tortured, gassed, shot, electrocuted and poisoned under the beneficent Hussein. An estimated 30,000 Iraqi civilians have died since our involvement there. I'm sorry, Michael, but you're off by a factor of 10.
Streeter also gives voice to the usual liberal lie that al-Qaida wasn't in Iraq pre-9/11. He couldn't be more wrong. On Feb. 19, 1995, top Iraqi officials met personally with bin Laden in the Sudan, after 'receiving approval from Saddam Hussein,' according to ABC news (hardly a conservative mouthpiece). The same ABC report documents that Hussein continued to pursue a relationship with bin Laden after the latter was expelled from Sudan and taken in by Afghanistan.
Hussein's Fedayeen were allowed to run two terrorist training camps in Iraq, with bin Laden's blessings. A document captured in the early days of the Iraq war that has only now been translated and released quotes Hussein: 'Terrorism is coming ... I told the Americans that in the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. What would prevent that we booby trap a car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one? This story is coming.'
Another recently translated document states that Saddam's forces were asking for volunteers among the terrorists training in the aforementioned camps for 'those who desire to volunteer for suicide missions to liberate Palestine and to strike American interests.' That memo was dated March 10, 2001, six months prior to 9/11. Yes, it's doubtful that bin Laden was holed up in the Baghdad Hilton, but there's plenty of evidence to support the fact that Hussein and bin Laden had a working relationship, and that terrorists were being trained on Iraqi soil. To quote Streeter, 'a smart person with a spine would have our troops there.'
As for 'trashing habeas corpus,' another president actually suspended it for nearly four years during a different war. His name was Abraham Lincoln. While I don't see George W. Bush in the same league as Lincoln, wars sometimes necessitate action that would be inappropriate in peace time.
At Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba, the average weight gain of an inmate is 20 pounds; one inmate has eaten enough U.S.-provided halal meals to now tip the scales at 410. They've got air-conditioned cells, 90 minutes of recreation time per day, arrows in the cells that point the way to Mecca for prayers and medical care for the tuberculosis and intestinal parasites that afflicted most of the detainees.
Traffic circles only result in wrecks, near misses
Several years ago the city of Gresham 'improved' Southwest Binford Lake Parkway between Pleasant Valley Drive and Towle Road. They removed stop signs and put in traffic circles, which are better known as suicide circles.
The result of these are wrecks and frequent near misses. They also put down 15 mph speed bumps, which conflict with the posted 25 mph speed. The speed bumps on Southwest Willowbrook were designed differently and function quite well at the posted speed - why don't these?
The biggest error made in the 'improvement' is that they eliminated street parking in front of 60 of about 120 homes on Binford Lake Parkway, which ruined the resale value of those homes and the surrounding ones. This was done to create bike lanes on both sides of the street.
This street is not a posted bike route. I did see a person pushing a toddler in a stroller down the street in the bike lane once, but I have yet to see any bicyclists using the lanes.
Narrow-minded endorsement doesn't tell full story
Yes, she delivers (Outlook editorial Oct. 11 'Minnis delivers for East County') but Republican Karen Minnis delivers mostly to the special interest groups that fund her with hundreds of thousands of dollars. She killed the bill to save us millions in prescription costs.
She killed the bill to limit payday loans and then used the special session to try to recover after Rob Brading had launched an initiative to limit them.
She killed efforts to have tobacco and liquor interests to pay their fair share of taxes after her unreported luxury trips paid by their lobbyists.
Your narrow-minded endorsement because she has brought some money to East County does not address the damage she has done to all of us in the state of Oregon.
She makes a big issue that Rob Brading receives support from Oregonians outside of this district and tries to play the 'them against us' tactic. How disingenuous when her money is coming from out-of-state special interest political action committees.
Squashing debate on House floor isn't equity
Imagine my disappointment and surprise that The Gresham Outlook has endorsed Karen Minnis.
'Minnis secures funding, ensures equity.'
Karen Minnis secures funding for East County by securing funding from big oil companies, pharmaceutical companies and tobacco companies. This funding is helping her million dollar campaign.
Speaker Minnis has robbed East County citizens by blocking important conversations and introductions of bills on the house floor. She changed the legislative process in place for more than 50 years by not allowing debate on the House floor. You call that equity?
The Gresham Outlook has stated that Karen Minnis has been 'true' to her constituents' wishes. Really? Is that why right at this very moment, the race between Rob Brading and Karen Minnis after she has spent nearly $1 million to discredit Rob is a statistical dead heat?
Funny what money can't buy. I am voting for a candidate who believes in working families and the struggles we face each day. I am voting for a candidate who is not in the pocket of big business.
I am voting for a candidate who will allow equity, who will allow debate and who will stand up for the citizens of East County. Rob Brading has my vote.
Wal-Mart would make gridlock nightmare out of Powell
When you see a documentary about Wal-Mart on TV, the concerned citizens, traffic engineers and environmentalists all prove it is a bad decision.
How can Gresham choose to side with Wal-Mart when a small store was proved a traffic hazard and an environmentalist nightmare. Now with the $14 million narrowing of Powell to a one-lane highway, it is even more a traffic hazard.
Please don't turn Gresham into gridlock and Powell into a parking lot.
JO ANN TIERNEY
Co-worker gives Vier vote of confidence in council run
My name is Minqing Zhao, and I am writing as a colleague of Marianne Vier's at CH2M HILL-IDC to support her election to the Troutdale City Council.
Marianne, as the company recruiter, is the first person I worked with before I was hired to my position. She was very kind, responsive and helpful during my hiring process.
At that time, I was living in Massachusetts, so all the communication between me and my colleagues had to be remote. Marianne used her excellent communications skills, by e-mails and phone calls, to help clarify expectations and questions on both sides.
She was also very responsive to coordinate my telephone interviews and hiring procedures. My impression of Marianne was confirmed after I saw her in Portland and got to know her as a colleague. She offered me a lot of useful information about the company and the community.
Knowing Marianne is campaigning for city council, I am glad to offer my professional and personal experience to support her. I believe she will be playing another effective and helpful role in public life.