Nov. 3 Letters to the editor
Brad Avakian is the education candidate
As a teacher and parent here in Oregon, I'm deeply concerned about the state of our schools in this state.
My classroom as well as my children's classrooms are beyond capacity. There's not enough space or time to meet the needs of our diverse student population. Plus, we are constantly asked to do more with less.
I want a congressman who will go to D.C. and fight - not just for more funding but for better policies. That's why I'm supporting Brad Avakian for Congress.
He's come out strongly against No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. He has also earned the recommendation of the Oregon Education Association.
He's clearly the education candidate in this race, and that's why he's got my vote.
Why the aggressive ticketing policy?
I am writing in response to Harley L. Sachs' Soapbox on Oct. 13 ('I got lost in Beaverton and got a speeding ticket').
According to the former police officer, who taught the traffic court workshop that I attended this month, 90 percent of your traffic ticket goes to the state of Oregon, 5 to 6 percent goes to the court and 4 to 5 percent goes to the police department. That means that the police department needs to issue a lot of citations to make any money.
Like Mr. Sachs, I have been driving for more than 50 years and consider my driving to be cautious, careful and courteous. Nevertheless, I was ticketed for driving past a pedestrian walking in a pedestrian walkway. I never saw the pedestrian because the violation was engineered.
Here's what I believe happened: A pedestrian (maybe a policeman out of uniform) walked quickly into the road as I approached. When I watched the video of my offense in the city of Beaverton attorney's office, I saw the same 'pedestrian' on the videotape do that maneuver (rushing into the walkway) to the car that preceded me and again, to the car behind me. Enough time elapsed between cars so that we drivers couldn't see one another and figure out the strategy.
That citation (which could have been an oral or written warning, but wasn't, despite a clean driving record) cost $287 plus $45 for traffic school.
Considering that tickets are not huge revenue producers, I wonder why Beaverton wants to become known as a city with hostile and aggressive ticketing practices.
Quality schools are key to boosting jobs
I am voting 'yes' for the Beaverton school levy because I believe when we invest in quality schools, we are also investing in our local economy.
Quality schools are a building block, offering our children the opportunity for the success they deserve while helping our community compete to attract and retain businesses and jobs.
Our kids, our economy and our community, vote 'yes' for Beaverton schools.
School levy helps us avoid the worst cuts
Unlike many other large Oregon districts, Beaverton School District has managed, up to now, to avoid significant classroom teacher layoffs or cuts in school days. This has been accomplished through frugal, efficient management of taxpayer dollars.
As a parent and school volunteer, I have seen this close up. But now we are facing such drastic cuts that there will be no way to avoid larger classes and shorter school years, not to mention further cuts to those 'extra' activities such as art, music and PE. The proposed Beaverton Schools Local Option Levy will help us avoid the worst of these cuts.
I am extremely proud that BSD strives to achieve a quality education for all of its diverse student body. Unlike Portland Public Schools, donations from affluent parents cannot be earmarked to add teaching staff at their children's particular school. In the Beaverton School District, we are all in this together. Please join me in voting 'yes' for Beaverton schools in the upcoming election.
Urban renewal plan gambles kids' future
The residents of Beaverton have an urban renewal plan being served up on a silver platter by city officials 'flavored' with tax increment financing, foregone revenues and not a new tax. Interest dollars to be paid for the 30-year plan is not a frequent public talking point.
While we are in our homes trying to vote for the best interest of our future, we have been told by city officials that the school district is supporting and funding a portion of this plan because it will have 'minimal impact,' according to Claire Hertz, who is the chief financial officer for Beaverton School District. That is a tall order for a school district that is facing a budget shortfall between $24 million and $37 million in 2012-13, has eight bonds still outstanding and is requesting an option levy in this same election.
We are comforted by these same city officials as they say the portion forgone by schools is 'not that much' and the numbers of dollars are 'almost invisible.' Any money intended for schools that would be foregone by the school district with such a financial crisis is not wise. The city and school district should not enter into this venture at this time.
We have been told by our city councilors that they attempt to be transparent, while in numerous meetings they admit urban renewal is very confusing. How can transparency be confusing?
One thing transparent is that the city heads have made a choice that a festival street and bricks and mortar are more important than 30 years worth of students that will flow through the Beaverton School District during the life of this plan.
Vote 'no' on city of Beaverton Measure 34-192.
GARY J. KNISS
Our children depend on voters' support
Voting in favor of the Beaverton School District local option levy protects the future of our children and our economy.
While it is difficult to consider adding additional taxes during a tough economy, not supporting our schools would be shortsighted and have the long-term effect of creating an undereducated workforce.
Vote 'yes' for the BSD local option levy. Our children and our future depend on it.
Frontier is sending a mixed message
It seems that under cover of night Frontier has abandoned its Oregon cable TV customers by closing its Oregon offices.
In an attempt to find a local office to return a cable box, I was advised the offices were closed and the nearest location was now in Washington. I will be mailed a box to send the cable box in.
I have recently received both letters and emails advising me of Frontier's commitment to Oregon. This action appears to be a move in the opposite direction.
Urban renewal is key to improvement
I love living and working in Beaverton, and I think we have a terrific city. But like anyone else, I know there are things we could improve, particularly in our charming but aging and congested downtown.
Urban renewal is a smart way for us to pay for needed improvements. Cities like Lake Oswego, Tualatin and Sherwood have done an excellent job using urban renewal to rebuild their downtowns. We should do the same.
My ballot and tax bill arrived almost simultaneously this year. I always spend the time to review where my property tax dollars go, and usually I'm satisfied that I am getting my money's worth. This year is no different.
We have the opportunity to vote to improve our city, without affecting our tax bills. Voting 'yes' on Beaverton's urban renewal plan will not add another tax to our property tax bills.
It is not a levy or a general obligation bond. In fact, it's not a new tax at all.
Urban renewal is just a change to the way we use property taxes inside the designated downtown area.
It works, it is a responsible use of tax dollars, and it has support from our school, park and fire districts.
Please join me and vote 'yes' for Beaverton urban renewal, Measure 34-192.
We can trust in Beaverton schools
One reason I am confidently voting 'yes' for the Beaverton school levy is because I trust people and groups that have a proven track record of results.
Every time our community has decided to invest in Beaverton schools, the district has rewarded our community with great schools and fiscal responsibility.
The best example of this was in 2003, when we passed the previous levy - the school district had asked for three years of badly needed funding to fight class size increases and save teacher jobs. One year, it turned out, the school district ended up with more money than budgeted. What did Beaverton schools do? Something unprecedented - they sent the extra money back to taxpayers.
It's with that track record in mind that I confidently vote for Measure 34-193, the Beaverton school levy. Because I know that when our community invests in Beaverton schools, we get the quality and the accountability our community deserves.
Levy is imperative for a better future
There are several reasons a 'yes' vote must be considered for the Beaverton School District's Local Option Levy.
Parents, a 'yes' vote for the levy is imperative to secure a better future for our children. As a volunteer within the district, I have seen firsthand the negative effects of budget cuts over the past couple of years. Our schools are suffering, our teachers are suffering, and in turn, our children are suffering.
As a community member, we need to invest in our schools. There is a direct impact on our local businesses, economy and neighborhoods from quality schools and education.
These children need lower class sizes for improved learning. They require a well-rounded education to include the arts, sciences, technology and physical education in order to achieve success worldwide. This can only happen with a 'yes' vote.
Take the stress off our teachers and students - let them focus on learning. Vote 'yes!'
Let's keep Beaverton moving forward
I am one of Beaverton's city councilors, and I've lived in Beaverton for many years. Professionally, I am a financial analyst for one of Oregon's larger high-tech companies. Prior to City Council, I've served on the Budget Committee for the past decade and know the city's finances extremely well. Beaverton boasts terrific financial stability, clean books, a top-notch credit rating and an excellent track record for managing expenses to keep its property tax rate as low as possible.
I couldn't be more pleased by the conservative financial projections in Beaverton's urban renewal plan. The finance directors of our partner governments helped develop a sensible set of limits on the plan, designed to make sure we can retire the urban renewal district within 30 years. These are strong, sound numbers for a plan that will do great things in downtown Beaverton.
This city has a great vision for its future. This plan will yield the kind of results our citizens asked the city to provide. Let's keep Beaverton moving forward. Let's all vote 'yes' for Beaverton urban renewal, Measure 34-192.
Beaverton City Council
Vote for Avakian, a veteran supporter
Are you serving in the military? Have you ever served in the military? What about your friends and family? Are any of them veterans?
Well, I am. I served for 20 years on active duty, and I am a member of seven different veterans organizations and the state leader of one of those veterans' organizations.
It has been my responsibility for the past four years repeatedly to go to the state Capitol and testify at many hearings regarding veterans' issues. This has allowed me to see how all the candidates wanting to be elected as our next Democratic congressman from the 1st Congressional District voted on and/or supported veterans' issues.
I can tell you that Brad Avakian is the best one of all the Democratic candidates seeking that office who has actually demonstrated he cares enough for veterans and their families.
They all say they want to bring the troops home, but what happens when they do come home? Will we take care of them or not?
That is up to you. So, if you have not filled out your Democratic primary ballot yet, please consider voting for Brad Avakian because he does indeed support veterans.
WAYNE S. HARVEY
(U.S. Army, retired)
Build a downtown to be proud of
Our family has lived, worked, invested and participated in Beaverton civic affairs for more than 80 years. We support the renewal and revitalization of this community because the improvements, which will occur, will make our city better. We want to help Beaverton build a downtown we can all be proud of, and urban renewal can help make this happen.
I was a member of the Community Advisory Committee that helped the city develop the policies and project lists for the urban renewal plan. The work we did with the city and the special districts was collaborative and positive, and welcomed our opinions and the thoughts of the public in an open and meaningful way. That open process is why the special district boards all support the plan.
This urban renewal plan will allow the city to invest in solving long-standing traffic and safety problems on Canyon Road, improve water and sewer lines in deteriorating industrial and employment areas, add new parking and revitalize downtown and Old Town by making it safer and more enjoyable to walk around.
I participated in and believe in the Beaverton Community Vision, and strongly support the new vision for Beaverton's downtown. This plan will help us get there.
I urge your support of urban renewal and a 'yes' vote on Nov. 8.
I like city's new forward progress
I'm Bob Lanphere Jr. I am proud to be a longtime Beaverton business owner. My family has owned land and operated businesses in Beaverton for many decades.
I am pleased at the direction Beaverton is going now, and I'm happy to be a part of Beaverton's new forward progress.
As much as I love this town, I know it needs work to get even better.
The city has put together some sensible plans based on the community vision, and I'm looking forward to seeing these plans put into action. But I know that city funding for important transportation improvements is scarce, so I'm a strong supporter of the urban renewal plan the city has sent to the voters.
With the funding that plan provides, the city can tackle some of the challenges that make it hard for businesses to grow and expand here.
We're going to work as a partner with the city in as many ways as we can.
We know how important the downtown area is to Beaverton residents, and like all of you, we want to be proud of our city.
Please join me in supporting the urban renewal plan with your 'yes' vote on Nov. 8.
BOB LANPHERE JR.