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Letters to the Editor

Minnis' abuse of power has thwarted process

I believe that your claim that Karen Minnis' experience gives her the edge is misguided. By your logic, incumbents would never be defeated. No matter how bad things in this state get, we should not elect new people with fresh perspectives, because they simply wouldn't have the experience needed to do the job. Karen Minnis is going for her fifth term in the legislature, and what have we gotten from it?

It is Karen Minnis' experience that has created partisan gridlock and lobbyist scandals. It is her knowledge of the political landscape that allows her to find hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interest groups to keep her in power.

It is her ability to abuse the power of the speakership, which has thwarted a truly democratic legislative process.

Most Oregonians would agree that the state is not going in the right direction, and this should be a consideration when voters fill out their ballots in the coming weeks. It's time for a new representative for East County, and new leadership in the house of representatives.

MICHAEL LAHEY

Troutdale

Questioning Gresham's campaign contributions

Why should a developer's sizeable political contributions to current local candidates be of concern to Gresham voters?

In our city, developers have had undue influence - both on hillside code revisions in their favor and on approval of questionable hillside housing developments. Serious citizen concerns have been repeatedly swept aside. This assertion is based on my involvement in the land-use decision process through the Gresham Butte Neighborhood Association over a six-year period through 2005.

In its land use decisions, Gresham's City Council has been insensitive to the ethical rule of avoiding actions that create even the appearance of a conflict of interest. As an example, in a citizen appeal of a land-use decision involving a local developer in 2005, an attorney's letter was necessary to assert that a councilor step down from the panel because of potential financial gain from the project. Stepping down should have been voluntary.

Pacific Lifestyle Holdings, Inc., of Washington state, is negotiating with the city in a major cost-sharing development venture in Gresham's newly annexed Pleasant Valley area. Shane Bemis, a mayoral candidate, accepted a $3,500 contribution from this developer, while Carol Nielsen-Hood, a council position 6 candidate, accepted $1,437.

By contrast, it is noteworthy that John Kilian, also a council position 6 candidate, announced at the start of his campaign that he would not accept any such endorsements or contributions so that he would be beholden to no one but the citizens of Gresham.

ED LABINOWICZ

Gresham

Pung's dedication will be good for Gresham Council

I am writing this letter of endorsement for Bob Pung, a citizen of Gresham and a well-known public volunteer for many organizations. Bob is running for City Council position 4. I know Bob because of his positive, giving and caring attitude.

He got our neighborhood involved in a Neighborhood Watch program and spends many late nights in the streets protecting and helping to prevent crime. We now have a safer community to live in because of Bob Pung. When he starts something he diligently works at perfecting each situation. He gives it his all and gets the job done.

Bob Pung is honest, he is straight forward, and he listens well. And he is a people person who desires to develop partnerships to create working relationships among his peers and for the people of Gresham.

Bob is a very committed person; he has the kind of character that people should have to be representative of citizens and will do very well as our next City Councilor.

SHARON FLOOD

Gresham

Businessperson could well lead city of Gresham

Mayor Becker continually reminds us that his opponent, Council President Shane Bemis, is a 'bright young kid.' I believe he certainly has the 'bright' part right. He also stated that Shane needs to 'age or ripen.'

I am encouraged for Gresham that Shane, at this young age, has such a passion for this community. That passion along with his leadership skills, his principles, his vision and his energy, will bring the respect to Gresham deserving of the fourth-largest city in Oregon, and the second largest in the metro area.

Mayor Becker also tries to persuade us that Shane would be too busy to be the mayor. It is my experience that a businessperson will be more efficient and hold others to more accountability because they value their time and resources. We always seem to ask the busy, energetic person to do something that is important. Elect Shane Bemis Mayor on Nov. 7.

LORIANNE FIEDLER

Gresham