Facility sale raises questions

To the editor:

When the cat is away, the mice will play. This happened at the Sept. 19 meeting of the Gervais School Board. The school board hastily agreed to sell the Eldriedge facility to the John Bosco School for $700,000. Details may be available at a later date.

When one sees wet-ink democracy in action, one almost always knows that the public is going to end up with the short, dirty end of the stick.

Why else was no information available about this sale in the Sept. 4, 11 and 18 issues of the Woodburn Independent, and why were no reporters at the Sept. 19 board meeting to record what happened?

Why didn’t the board do its due diligence in public and allow the public to do its due diligence before the board agreed to sell the district’s property?

The following questions should have been answered in public several weeks before the board acted:

1. Is this offer a good deal, all things considered, for the district’s patrons?

2. Who is guaranteeing the payment of this money for purchase of the Eldriedge facility by the John Bosco School?

3. What is the schedule for payment of this money to the district?

4. What guarantee was given about the property to make the sale?

5. What will the district do with the North Howell facility, or is it all used up and good only to give away?

No vacation or hunting trip is adequate justification for giving away district property, no matter which church hierarchy benefits.

Conversations I have had with school board members indicated that detailed conversations have occurred all summer long in executive board meetings, and they decided to make the sale then and there, and this meeting was a legal formality.

The actions taken at this board meeting are legal, but highly questionable from an ethical and prudence point of view, and they are destroying public trust in the board.

This political mess is what I objected to when I ran for the Gervais School Board of Directors last spring.

Lenthal Kaup


Time for a change

To the editor:

I find it odious that no member of our city council has expressed themselves on the current issue of the administration’s attack on our city workers and their pay being reduced to minimum wages. This tells me who’s really in charge at City Hall.

Mr. Scott Derickson’s (city manager) decision to fire whomever he feels is standing in his way of slashing and burning his way to power is obscene and he needs to be reined in at once!

As was expressed earlier in print, maybe it’s long past time for a common sense change for Mr. Derickson from the City of Woodburn.

Arnold Ponce


Cuts at City Hall just beginning

To the editor:

The article in the paper of Sept. 11 (“Salaries cut, but city employees keep their jobs”) said the Local Union 642 had reached an agreement to keep their benefits. What about the wages which were cut $5.19 to $8.34 per hour?

That’s a cut of $10,795.20 to $17,347.20 per year. In the same article it says that we have a right to renegotiate and we are glad the city wanted to go this route. When you agree to renegotiate parts of a contract you always get a date when these negotiations will begin. What’s the date you will begin negotiation?

Why would the city negotiate a wage increase for these employees when, as of Oct. 1, the union agreed to these hourly pay cuts? I have always found that when you agree to cuts in wages or benefits, an employer will always ask for more cuts. The employer calls it saving money. These six employees went to work on Monday making $16.73 to $19.88 per hour. On Tuesday, they started to receive $11.54 per hour. The other city employees better take a hard look into what to look forward to in the next year or two. It will be called saving money for the taxpayer. Did anyone else take a pay cut in the city or just these six employees?

Gary D. Will


Educating now pays off in the future

To the editor:

As a community we have the greatest responsibility and highest honor to educate our youth. Amongst the enormity of the task, the economic downturn has devastated our school budget. An educated population is the cornerstone of democracy. This nation’s well-being depends on the decisions of its educated and informed citizens.

Education reduces costs to taxpayers. For every dollar spent to keep a child in school, the future costs of welfare, prison and intervention services are reduced. Research shows that it costs less to educate a child now than to support a teenage parent or a repeat offender in the future.

Public schools are the only schools that must meet the needs of all students. They do not turn children or families away. Public schools serve children with physical, emotional and mental disabilities, those who are extremely gifted, those who are learning challenged and all the ethnic and socioeconomic differences.

In 1954, there were 17 workers to pay the Social Security cost for each retiree. By 1995, there were only three for each retiree. It is likely that the productivity of these three workers per retiree will depend on the strength of our public school systems.

More than 95 percent of our future jobs will require at least a high school education. There is no question about the need for an educated work force.

The nation pays a high price for poorly educated workers. When retraining and remediation are needed to prepare a worker to do even simple tasks, the cost is paid by both employers and consumers.

Good education is not inexpensive, but ignorance costs far more.

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela

Julie Miller


Grinch attitude at outlet mall apparent

To the editor:

I want to applaud your recent article criticizing the currently woeful attitude of the new managers of the outlet mall in failing to make an appointment for Santa at the Mall (“Too early for Christmas?” Sept. 25 edition of the Woodburn Independent). It just goes to show that the Grinch is still alive and well.

Lest we forget, the economic thrust of the interchange project has been to support this cluster of businesses and its management company — a $100 million piece of essentially corporate welfare we’ve donated to this mall.

Since this is the premier tourist attraction in Oregon I find this new lackadaisical attitude in promoting it shocking. I have noticed the diminishing of traffic and buses from other states and Canada ever since they took over and started not spending any investment money.

I remember when I was leading a small technical company in Oregon a few years ago I agreed to take half my usual rate to help an owner who wept bitterly over his lack of income. I worked for over a year, doubling the business of the company. I was then invited to the house of the owner, and I saw a veritable palace with grounds of cascading waterfalls. My idea of being poor was massively different from this owner’s.

I suspect our new management company is of this ilk. They think they’ve just bought a cash cow which will keep generating income without them having to do the work.

What can we do as people, city and state to make them change their mind? We do have the power with public pressure to make them work!

Colin R. Brown


ODOT should work around sequoia trees

To the editor:

I was saddened to read in this newspaper that the two large sequoia trees across from Maps Credit Union will be cut down as part of the Highway 214 improvement project (“Residents experience temporary woes of interchange project,” Sept. 18 edition of Woodburn Independent). When one looks at the two newly-installed temporary fence lines, the trees appear to be inside the lines and protected.

If not, could Oregon Department of Transportation make a slight modification to the fence line to save these trees? Please, ODOT, write a letter to this newspaper telling us why these trees must be sacrificed for your project, or better yet, let us know that you’ll make some slight adjustments and save the trees. Thank you.

Burt Carney


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