Letters to the editor, Nov. 1, 2006:
Republicans' tactics deplorable
The Republican leadership's adopted philosophy of do-or-say-anything-to-get-elected has brought disastrous consequences for the American people. With their aggressive use of smear and fear tactics, they seem more than willing to demonize their fellow Americans and divide our country for partisan political advantage.
Among the things they willingly choose to do, without regard for the long-term consequences, is to accept obscene amounts of money from giant corporations and the super-rich, as campaign contributions. With these financial advantages, Republicans are frequently able to effectively buy the elective offices they seek. Unfortunately, by doing this, they end up beholden to the interests of those large campaign contributors, rather than the interests of the people they were elected to represent.
Big money's destructive influence can be witnessed right now, here in our own District 26 state Senate race. The lies, distortions and other gimmicks that have made up Carol York's campaign, have been nothing short of despicable.
My advice to voters in this election is to think twice before voting to elect or re-elect any Republicans. They need to hear loud and clear from the voters of our district that such underhanded and destructive tactics are not acceptable.
Educated voters: better than term limits
If proponents could put half as much energy into increasing voter awareness as they put into sponsoring misguided initiatives like Measure 45, our democracy would have the best term limits of all: elections in which educated voters make informed decisions on which candidates to elect and which candidates to remove from office. I don't want someone else deciding who I can or can not vote for based on how many terms they've served, I want vibrant debate and public conversation about issues and campaigns. We need to change our political system, not just our politicians.
Vote no on Measure 45.
CHRISTINE CHIN RYAN
Support conservation district
If you are a Clackamas County resident looking for a simple, economic, non-political, earth-friendly way to make a difference and support clean water and healthy soils in our County, please vote yes on Ballot Measure 3-221.
Ballot Measure 3-221 will provide a stable funding base for the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District. This small band of four amazing individuals not only provide landowners throughout Clackamas County with free, technical assistance and training in rural-related manure, mud and pasture management techniques, but they also provide free workshops on home and garden pesticide safety, wildlife habitat design, golf course quality lawns, rainwater harvesting, sustainable design, invasive species control and other current topics.
The mission of this group is about seeking a balance between natural resources, the economy and the community. They do this through education, cooperation, habitat enhancement partnerships and technical assistance.
They work with nursery and produce growers, livestock owners, foresters, farmers, urban and rural land owners, businesses, municipalities and others to meet rising legal and public expectations for healthy and sustainable management of our land, air and water. They work with folks like you and me who just want to be good stewards.
The district does not make or enforce regulations. They teach us how to manage weeds and mud, how to keep our soils healthy and how to keep our healthy soils out of the water. They are here for us and they deserve our support and we deserve their support so please join me in voting yes for Measure 3-221.
Even her opposition generally accepts that Suzanne VanOrman has an excellent understanding of educational issues, thanks to her years as the director of Head Start in the gorge. We should also remember that VanOrman spent 10 years on the Oregon City commission, at one point serving as chairwoman.
Suzanne has years of experience dealing with such issues as roads, sewers, urban growth, water, fire and land use. Her service on budget committees and her career as a private contractor has provided her with a firm understanding of the difficulties of meeting a budget as a small businesswoman.
During this election cycle, VanOrman has been the candidate who leads with the facts. She does not claim endorsements from organizations that actually oppose her. She doesn't need to. Suzanne has the broad range of experience needed to face the issues in our district. You can check out her record of accomplishment at www.votevanorman.org.
Smith is attentive, diligent
I would like to put in a good word for our Rep. Patti Smith. My wife and I live in unincorporated Multnomah County and are represented by Smith. Over the past two years Patti has been steadfast in working towards a solution to a property rights problem that we, along with other neighbors, have needed. The problem required the diligent efforts and cooperation between several local, county and state agencies, cooperation would not have occurred without Patti's good work.
Patti Smith is a diligent, hard working person who I believe represents the interest of her constituents in her role as a state representative. We urge support for her in the upcoming election.
BRIAN D. BLACK and DIANNE L. BLACK
VanOrman has broad experience
Suzanne VanOrman's candidacy for House District 52 Representative offers not only her experience as Head Start director for the Hood River-area for 22 years, but also 10 years experience with roads, sewer, water, libraries, police, fire, urban renewal and land-use as Oregon City Commissioner. Patti Smith has no comparable experience or demonstrated capabilities.
Rep. Smith lists in her glossy mailing that she "pushed the stable schools plan." Little time remains to clarify this issue, but I'll try. Please consider these facts.
Smith sponsored HB 3460 for Speaker Karen Minnis, referred to by school supporters as 'cut and cap,' because of this attempt to start with an artificially low base, and cap each biennium with an unreasonably low cap. Failing in committee, it nevertheless reappeared as 2460 and narrowly passed the House with Smith's vote.
The Senate passed 2460 after removing the Minnis-Smith plan. The House then passed it with Smith's vote and attendant compromises, resulting in millions of dollars in lost funding for our schools. "Stable school funding" (cut and cap) failed, but Smith successfully assisted in clipping the wings of our schools.
Are you satisfied with this support? I'm not. I don't believe our schools can continue to function effectively with this support by Smith.
I choose Suzanne VanOrman.
Smith is the obvious choice
Some voting decisions are difficult to make, but whether to vote for Patti Smith to represent District 52 is an easy decision.
Patti Smith is a woman with integrity and outstanding character. She is sincere and deeply cares about the issues that affect her constituents. I appreciate the time she takes to respond to my questions and or concerns. She has never failed to respond to any of my inquiries personally and in a timely manner.
Twenty-five organizations and four publications endorse Patti. She is hard-working and spends many hours conducting our district business. She is an advocate for our schools, children, families, law enforcement, business and veterans, just to mention a few.
For these reasons and many more, I have decided once again to give Patti Smith my support and vote to continue her excellent performance as my representative in District 52. The decision is easy!
CHRIS SMITH (no relation)
VanOrman supports 'we the people'
The House District 52 race between Suzanne VanOrman and Patti Smith is an interesting one in many ways. Suzanne recently retired as director of the regional Head Start program after serving efficiently and compassionately for 22 years.
After listening to both candidates, I believe that each is sincere in her beliefs. My vote goes to VanOrman because she wants efficient government and believes that 'we the people' - who collectively are the government - can really make a difference in people's lives through stable funding for schools, wise energy and land use, and affordable health care.
One example of this is VanOrman's endorsement of Senate Bill 329, which would have allowed Oregonians without insurance as well as small businesses to join in the statewide purchasing pool to reduce prescription drug costs. Smith voted 'no' on this bill. Smith has voted with her Republican colleagues 95 percent of the time. This is to me the main reason not to endorse her re-election: she supports and is a member of a party that seems to feel that government should be cutting every social safety net while handing out tax cuts and tax breaks to wealthy donors.
Smith is a true local legislator
As a long time Gresham resident and real estate broker, I admit that for the first 43 years of my life my knowledge of the legislative process had been basic at best. But three years ago, my husband and I were confronted by a land-use problem that couldn't be fixed without it - and since then, our knowledge of the process and our respect for state Rep. Patti Smith has skyrocketed.
Our particular problem started with the discovery three years ago that our 1.67 acres in rural Gresham with a more than 100-year-old farmhouse on it had been unlawfully divided three owners ago back in 1978. This situation was not brought to our attention at the time we purchased the property in 1993, prior to me obtaining my real estate license. Our situation didn't fall neatly into any category. Multnomah County officials and even the head of the Land Conservation and Development Commission said they couldn't help us.
We were unable to obtain permits for remodeling or adding on. We also could be sued if we sold the property. It was a real land-use nightmare. So we called upon our state Rep. Patti Smith with a cry of help and she responded. She spent her valuable time researching our problem and determined that the only avenue to correct the matter would be a new law!.
Patti worked hard to sponsor and write a bill that would satisfy involved parties at all levels. It takes a lot of effort to make everyone happy. She guided us through the progression of the bill - with the first draft, its reviews and revisions in committee, the readings, votes and passage. It's not something just any kid on the block can do. It takes know-how and perseverance … and the ability to work across party lines. Our bill (House Bill 3081) passed last year with only one nay vote total.
If it weren't for Patti Smith, we might still be sitting on a beautiful piece of property that we couldn't improve - or sell. She does so much more than just worry about the hot-button issues that the news trumpets daily. She listens to the needs of her constituents and works diligently to help those of us who might otherwise fall through the cracks.
The legislative process is complicated, and we should continue to have someone who is 'tried and true' watching out for our best interests as citizens. It's election time again, and I am devoted to helping keep Patti in the House of Representatives for District 52. You should be to. Vote for Patti Smith.
VanOrman will protect natural resources
I love Oregon for its abundant natural resources and our concern about the use of these resources by the forest industry. Looking at Rep. Patti Smith's campaign contributions, I consistently see large donations coming in from the forest industry.
Recently, Oregon Loggers Political Action Committee sent her $2,000. Oregon Forest Industries Council sent in $1,000. Georgia-Pacific, Longview Fiber and Weyerhauser are all contributors. What are these PACs and corporations expecting in return? How can Patti Smith satisfy both our needs and theirs?
I have met Suzanne VanOrman. She is college educated, experienced in government and environmentally concerned. For the sake of Oregon's natural resources, House District 52 will be better served by Suzanne VanOrman.
I support Patti
I see it is election time again, and I am writing to urge your support for Patti Smith, our state representative. State Rep. Patti Smith isn't just about politics. She's about the needs of her districts and the people of Oregon. I have known Patti for years, and I know that she works across party lines to get the job done. She is a hard-working legislator. She looks at the issues, determines what will be best for her constituents and responds accordingly.
I am a strong supporter of Patti. She deserves to be re-elected this November and will have my vote.
Watch the money; vote your values
So, whose interests are we supporting when we make our choices for candidates and ballot measures? Do these individuals and proposals reflect our local values? Are they backed by local supporters - the $20 at a time folks - or from out-of-state industries or think tanks? Are they in tune with local and regional needs or do they represent special interests? Do they touch your lives and the lives of the next generations with hope; are they about fairness, honesty and opportunity?
If anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We lend our support and regret it later when we learn that the promised benefits are not meant for you and me; they never were. As the old adage goes, 'Follow the month.' Look at the backers. Consider your values. Vote wisely.
MARY ANN ALGER
Not too late to vote for VanOrman
All of the local voters who have not yet voted should be sure and click on www.VoteVanOrman.com before filling out their ballots. They have an opportunity, in this year's state representative race, for a free upgrade. They shouldn't miss this chance to get some better representation.
Unlike some years, voters really do have some options on this year's ballot. They should give this one a look good hard look and then vote VanOrman.
Smith a representative for all
District 52 is facing critical and complex issues. We need a seasoned, experienced and balanced legislator to represent the agricultural, educational, children's issues, social issues and fiscal complexities.
We agree with The Sandy Post that Patti Smith is the answer. She has been at the forefront in educating the public on drug awareness as well as supporting the funding of drug courts. She has proven ability to work with legislators across the aisle. Why would we want to replace the experience that Smith provides?
She is a representative for all people, whether small business, agriculture, children or seniors. She introduced and passed legislation that stiffens penalties for sexual predators. She has a record of effectiveness. She is not simply a one-issue representative, although education is at the forefront of everyone's agenda including hers, she recognizes the importance that a strong economy plays in solving the problems of financing of education.
My personal interaction with Patti Smith led me to the conclusion that she is a caring and compassionate listener and an independent voice for us. She provided invaluable counsel to our group of concerned citizens when our Boring area was faced with a critical crisis and demonstrated that she is not afraid to spend the time in the district helping to make District 52 a better place for everyone to live without damaging the quality of life we are accustomed to enjoying. Her commitment to our locality is demonstrated by her personal visits to all of our neighborhoods.
Please vote for Patti Smith to continue the excellent job she has been doing for us.
WAYNE G. STRICKLAND
Government has no business transferring property
With the election coming soon, we hear much about various candidates and measures. But so far I have heard nothing about Measure 39.
I would like to ask the readers of this paper to please vote yes on Measure 39, because I think that it is terrible that any government should be allowed to compel one private property holder to transfer ownership of their private property to another private party.
Yes, government can and should some times condemn private property for public use. But never should it be able to transfer it to a different private party.