In the April 2 issue of the South County Spotlight in The Buzz section an anonymous writer claimed that 'people like Mike Sheehan are the reason why government makes it harder for average citizens to obtain public records and why the costs are so exorbitant.'First, let's be clear, public records belong to the public.
Second, some public officials do things as public officials, while on the job and using public computers that the public should know about.
Third, indeed it is true that many government entities here and in other places in the world are going out of their way to prevent citizens from having access to public records, because they know that if the public were well informed in a timely manner the public would object to what is being done.
The anonymous writer suggests that if people didn't ask for copies of public records that the government might find embarrassing to release, the government wouldn't need to find every way to deter such requests.
So, shall we sit quietly and never ask embarrassing questions of government officials in the hopes that they will then like us better?
Not while the spirits of the founding fathers and mothers still live in America.
Michael F. Sheehan
The Big Read
The Friends of St. Helens Public Library and the South Columbia County Reads group would like to acknowledge all of our partners and sponsors for making The Big Read: South Columbia County Big Reads 'The Maltese Falcon' a tremendous success. Throughout the month of February, approximately 960 people took part in the various programs and events held around the area. In addition, 550 books found their way into eager hands.
A project of this magnitude could not have taken place without the support of our community. Local supporters include: St. Helens Rotary Club, Cascade Tissue Group of Oregon, St Helens Book Shop, NW Regional Educational Service District, St. Helens and Scappoose school districts, Columbia Arts Guild, Shoestring Community Players, Friends groups and libraries of Scappoose, Columbia City and St. Helens, and the Columbia County Citizens for Human Dignity.
We look forward to future 'Community Reads' programs and invite any groups or individuals interested in future participation to contact Rick Samuelson, librarian at the St. Helens Public Library, at 503-397-4544.
'The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and governments to gain ground.'
- Thomas Jefferson
I have said it before and I'll say it again. The United States is the greatest country in the world in its founding principles, and by any objective measure, it still ranks among the freest countries in the world in the practice of those principles.
But regardless of this there is no excuse for the daily violations of individual rights that occur in this country, violations that are committed with the acquiescence and support of major institutions such as the press, the courts, and our degenerate political class.
What are these violations? They can be summed up by this idea: that the productive citizens should be made, at that point of a gun, to give up their wealth to the unproductive and that the competent at life should be made to sacrifice to the incompetent.
For example, according to the prevailing cultural attitude, those who are competent at planning for retirement should be made to sacrifice to those who have failed to do so; those who are competent at providing for their family should be made to sacrifice to the unwed mother incapable of supporting her child; or those who have educated themselves in order to acquire a decent income should sacrifice to those who have failed to educate themselves for such an income.
The metaphorical gun-pointed at the head of the productive citizen is as effective as a real gun. If you don't believe it, then try not paying your federal income taxes, your state income taxes, your property taxes, or try not to comply with some bureaucrat's regulation, and then see what happens to you.
This orgy of sacrifice is a monstrous evil that is not only tolerated by vast segments of society, but is actively promoted and advocated. Indeed, there are plans by one of our two major political parties to try to expand this evil as rapidly as possible, while the other party scrambles to expand it as well, but only somewhat less quickly.
Meanwhile a passive population meekly accepts these violations or pretends to fight them by posting comments on meaningless Websites that often present a mixture of conflicting opinions without philosophical foundation or integration. No relief to this babble can be found in the popular press, where the talking heads can always be counted on to ignore the real issues and prattle about lugubrious superficialities and nonsense.
Where are the angry citizens marching on the city halls or government offices? Where are the seething, restless masses? Where is the outrage? Americans who once began a revolution because of a relatively minor tax on tea (remember the Boston Tea Party?), have now evolved into stupefied and compliant lambs that will tolerate the most obstreperous impositions from their government.
This is the state of our culture today. Repressive government will continue to 'gain ground' unless the people begin to understand the need for a rational, integrated philosophy based on individuals rights.
Roy A. Fuller
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and have a long talk with Jeff Dickerson regarding his efforts to become the new Columbia County sheriff.
Jeff has a clear and strong vision for the Sheriff's Office that centers on customer service, relationship building with citizens and local agencies and the best use of existing resources.
Jeff will bring a fresh outlook and renewed energy to this important position.
I urge you to give Jeff Dickerson your support.