- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
Blanchet House is a good way to help those in need
To the Editor:
The Blanchet House of Hospitality: For those of you looking to get out and help somebody, I've got just the thing.
During the week of Thanksgiving, my brother and my mom and I decided to feed the homeless at the Blanchet House in North Portland. Their mission statement is to feed, clothe, and offer shelter and aid to those in need.
It was the day before Thanksgiving, and we were all ready to get off the couch and help. I had gone the year before during Christmas break and had really enjoyed it.
We chose to help out with lunch, which meant arriving at about 11:30 a.m. to help prepare for the 12 o'clock meal. By the time we arrived, there were 20-25 people already lined up, awaiting their free meal.
Once inside, there were three jobs: Server, bus-boy or working in the kitchen to prepare the trays. Last year I was helping in the kitchen, while this time I was out on the floor as a bus-boy.
It was a heartwarming experience to see how appreciative they were for our help, so they could have a meal. In this community we tend to take for granted all of the opportunities that surround us, but after helping out for just a couple hours at the Blanchet House, I am able to see how lucky and blessed we are.
It was a truly humbling experience, and one that I will continue to do. The Blanchet House is located on 340 Northwest Glisan St., Portland. They are always in need of volunteers, and can be contacted by phone at 503-226-3911.
Portland (just outside of Dunthorpe)
Legislative session was waste of time and taxes
To the Editor:
I admit that I am not in favor of any more Legislature time than absolutely necessary for very important state purposes.
In reading the Feb. 28 Review, quoting faint praise for the 19 day session from politicians such as Mr. Macpherson, Peter Courtney, Gary Wilhelms and Mr. Richard Devlin, the session was substantially time, and taxes wasted.
It doesn't give one confidence to hear that 'legislative leaders learned more about how to structure an annual session in the future' considering Oregon has been a state since 1859.
The new DMV driver license legal residency is good, but what was the emergency? In fact it would have been helpful to have listed each of the 73 measures passed, stating the emergency and the substance of the new law. It's called 'transparency.'
John F. Beau
City encouraged to seek Metro transportation grant
To the Editor:
(We) have spoken with the mayor and the motor pool superintendent of Lake Oswego, and as you may or may not know, the city is considering a switch to B20 bio-diesel this summer. This would be an amazing achievement, and the city should make it a top priority.
B20 bio-diesel is a mix of 20 percent bio-fuel and 80 percent diesel; the bio-fuel in the mix burns much cleaner and is safer for the environment. Right now, this is one of the best projects that the city's money can go towards.
But currently not all of the city's diesel vehicles are able to run on B20 and since the city of Lake Oswego only has one pump set aside for diesel, all the diesel vehicles have to run off of the same blend of fuel. The city will need to set aside some of its budget if it is going to upgrade the older engines in its fleet.
The city has the option to get the job done and save money by applying for a transportation grant from Metro. Metro is a local regional government that offers transportation grants, and is looking for applicants just like our city. They have recently started a new grant category specifically for this type of upgrade, a diesel retrofit grant. It has recently been introduced to help reduce emissions. The last time this grant was handed out, the money awarded was just over $1 million and it was given to retrofit buses to run on bio-fuel.
(We) strongly encourage the city of Lake Oswego to apply for this grant. It is a great way to get the job done at a lower cost to the city and would make the process of change run very smoothly. Although the city may be able to pay for these changes out of its own budget, those resources could then be saved and leave more money for other city projects.
Nick Stroud, Rick Engelberg and Crystal Howitz
Could there possibly be
a hidden agenda?
To the Editor:
Coming from a foreign country where all schools started at 9 a.m., I was surprised when I learned several years ago that my freshman kid would have to be in class at 7:35.
I wrote to then Lake Oswego School Board Chair, Bill Swindells, asking why teenagers had to get up so early, as everyone knows they need to sleep as late as possible. His response was logical. There are two reasons:
n High school football and other sports need three hours practice time in daylight
n The contract for school buses allows for the same buses to take kids to elementary, then junior high, then high school, thus minimizing busing costs.
I couldn't disagree, but some months later it dawned on me there was a hidden agenda. If teenagers get up earlier, then they should go to bed earlier. If you wanted to have sex with your spouse without the kids knowing, it helps if they are in bed earlier in the evening. But now I'm not so sure my hidden agenda theory about the school board's sex lives is valid. Teenagers stay up all hours regardless.
But perhaps there's a second hidden agenda. Could this be a negotiating tactic for the Lake Oswego School District in its plans to get high school football games (and practices) under lights at Lakeridge in the evening - in exchange for starting high school later?
Editorial stand on
To the Editor:
Last week the Review, lacking facts and logic, was forced to resort to misdirection and untrue statements in an attempt to support its position.
The editorial attempts to paint the new requirements for Oregon driver's licenses as somehow an attempt to 'decide immigration policy for the nation.' This is, of course, ridiculous - the requirements simply make it a bit harder for illegals to commit violation of multiple laws each day.
The editorial also says that one of the results of the new requirements is 'they (illegals) won't have to prove they have insurance.' This is a 100 percent bogus argument - there is no tangible connection between an Oregon driver's license (or the proposed 'driver privilege card') and auto insurance. Sure, there is an Oregon law requiring automobiles be insured, but does anyone believe a person who is breaking several laws every day is going to spend the money to comply with the insurance law?
The Review is correct on one point when it indicates failure to deal with illegals may lead to violence. Looking the other way while 20 million people have invaded this country has resulted in increased demands for 'rights' and threats of violence by the illegals.
There is a simple solution - Arizona has had tremendous success with its new law providing stiff sanctions against companies that hire illegals. In just a few months, the invaders are going home. If they are not here (illegally), there is no need for 'driving privilege cards.'
Editor's note: The Review is more than willing to admit when it's incorrect. We run correction boxes to that point when necessary. Unfortunately, Mr. Luck is lifting partial quotations out of the editorial to justify his comments. For instance, he says: 'The editorial also says that one of the results of the new requirements is 'they (illegals) won't have to prove they have insurance.'' In fact, the actual sentence in the editorial reads as follows: 'That means they won't have to prove that they have the skills needed to operate a vehicle or that they have insurance.'Additionally, Mr. Luck opines that our editorial 'attempts to paint the new requirements for Oregon driver's licenses as somehow an attempt to 'decide immigration policy for the nation.'' The actual sentence reads: 'It's not the role of the Oregon Legislature to decide immigration policy for the nation, but state lawmakers do have a responsibility to ensure safety on Oregon's roads.'
Mountain Park letter
To the Editor:
Tim Warren, president of Mountain Park Homeowners Association, stated in the Feb. 14 Lake Oswego Review, 'The association has replaced letters to the editor (in the association publication) with an online community bulletin board …'
Low and behold Parkways (the association publication) which was received last Saturday contained eight articles from members which I would call letters to the association. Which makes matters worse regarding these articles is that they were solicited from members. No member opposing the assessment increase was asked to submit an article. It seems to me that saying that the association is not going to print letters to the editor and then turn around and print eight articles is contradictory.
Parkways is the association publication and to solicit comments for publication without presenting both sides of an issue is outrageous. I thought a board was supposed to represent the members, not their own personal agenda. Why do you think I have to keep writing to the Review to express my opinion?
Still no 2007 year end financial statements available for members to review. How are members to ask questions at the annual meeting regarding the association's financial condition without having the opportunity to review the financial statements? Just does not make sense.
The board is certainly making changes. Some good and some bad.
Is misconduct being swept under the rug?
To the Editor:
Recently The Oregonian published a number of articles regarding the practice of school administrators who 'strike secret settlement agreements with teachers who resign for sexual misconduct.'
In other words they sweep the misconduct under the rug and send the teacher off to another school district. If the Lake Oswego School District has participated in this practice then I think the public deserves a detailed accounting by the current Lake Oswego School Board and the superintendent of schools. Any or all teachers currently working in this district or any other school district who received a 'sweetheart deal' should be identified. Children need to know their teachers will not abuse them and parents need to know their children are protected at school.
I also hope that parents and concerned citizens will demand that the state Legislature include all coaches hired by the school district in new legislation to ban the misconduct of educators. Currently coaches are not considered educators and are not subject to review by the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission.
Editor's note: The following response is from Kristen Winn, director of human resources for the Lake Oswego School District:
'All employees in the Lake Oswego School District, including coaches, undergo pre-employment record checks, fingerprinting, and reference checks. If we receive a complaint of sexual misconduct regarding an employee, which occurs very rarely, the complaint is immediately investigated by the district. If found to raise reasonable suspicion, the complaint is reported to the Department of Human Services, the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission (if the complaint involves a teacher) and the Lake Oswego Police Department for investigation. The district does not ask employees to resign in lieu of reporting complaints of sexual misconduct to the appropriate authorities for investigation.'
Getting comment on
letter disturbs student
To the Editor:
I appreciate Bruce Plato's comments in response to my letter that appeared in the Lake Oswego Review's opinion section (PAS students aren't taken seriously) last week. I would also like to thank the Review publishing four letters that reflected the views of many students in the community. The opportunity to have an open dialogue in a public forum is a privilege and I have had a great learning experience from this situation.
However, I question several things that occurred before my letter was published last Thursday. I submitted my letter to the Review on Monday, Feb. 27. Summarily, the Review sent (Principal) Bruce Plato the letter, and asked if he would like to make a response before it was published. I was summoned to the principal's office where I was confronted about my letter. This put me in a very uncomfortable situation, as I had to explain the reasons why I wrote my letter. Mr. Plato asked me to either change the content of my letter, or have it withdrawn from the Review, otherwise he would respond negatively to my letter.
Mr. Plato was correct. Some of my perceptions regarding this issue were inaccurate. So I called the Review to see if my letter could be changed. When I contacted the Review the editor informed me that changing my letter would be difficult and unfair because Mr. Plato already submitted a response. Nonetheless, my revised letter appeared in the Review on Thursday along with Mr. Plato's response.
I was called into my principal's office regarding a letter that I wrote to our local newspaper that has no affiliation with the school district. I question the relationship that the school district has with the Review. How long has this type of editorial relationship between the paper and the school been going on? Moreover, how many letters, editorials and press releases have been suppressed by the school district? The publication of our (opinion pieces) asserts the voices of students in the community, but it has also raised numerous questions as to how our voices are heard. If we cannot attempt to speak to the public, without the potential hindrance of our school officials, then what is our voice worth?
Editor's note: Ryan Reece's citizen's view on Feb. 28 complained the 'administration at Lake Oswego High School and several key stakeholders alike are treating the advocating students (of later school starting times) as 'second-class citizens.' He alleged the administration was wrong in its handling of having students postpone a public forum to assess community opinion regarding starting times for high schools. Because Mr. Reece directly criticized the administration over the handling of the incident and reported his version of what the administration's actions were, we deemed it appropriate to contact Principal Bruce Plato for his version of what had transpired. Because we are a weekly newspaper, we try, when appropriate, to get both sides in on an opinion piece, rather than wait a week for the other side to have a chance to respond. We have done this over the years with schools, school districts, fire departments, police departments, city government, state government, quasi-official public bodies, politicians and others. The calling of Mr. Reece into the principal's office was not, in our opinion, an appropriate response to our request. As to Mr. Reece's questions about the 'relationship between the Review and the school district,' we do indeed try to get answers to questions raised by letter writers from any and all pertinent sources when questions or inaccuracies are submitted. As to how 'many letters, editorials and press releases have been suppressed by the school district', we assume Mr. Reece will be delighted to hear that the answer is none. It is also worth noting that Mr. Reece is wrong about his conversation with the Review's editor about whether his letter could be changed. He was informed that the deadline for letters had passed 24 hours earlier and that the Editorial pages were finished and sent. He was also told that we would try to make the change in his citizen's view but because of the late hour, could not guarantee that would happen. We worked hard to get the change in at his request. And, as a further aside, this current letter of Mr. Reece's arrived at 10:11 a.m. Tuesday, fully 17 hours past our letter deadline.