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Letters to the Editor for April 26

Change public contract process

Today, most public projects are awarded using the CM-GC (construction manager-general contractor) process. Without a bid, your school board, city councilors, fire district staff or library committee are picking your contractor for the next $12 million public building.

It is not difficult to anticipate a reduction of value or an overrun on costs when a job is handed to a contractor without monetary competition. We believe this practice is costing the voters in excess of 10 percent. If you disagree, allow us to provide a check figure. Sure, this will cost us considerable time and effort, but we are so concerned with the faults of this CM-GC procedure, we're willing to invest.

What's wrong with CM-GC?

  • If the general public understood the awarding of a contract without competition, they should be extremely angered.
  • The process itself lays bare the opportunity for influence, coercion or even bribery.
  • The use of CM-GC eliminates the opportunity for the un-chosen to compete. It effectively becomes restraint of trade.
  • Its application affects the entire construction industry. Today, small projects ($5 million or less) are being completed by the large firms via CM-GC. These large firms would not or could not compete with mid-size firms bidding on these jobs. The normal food chain of competition is disrupted by even one public project being handed to a non-competitive firm.
  • Last, there is absolutely no way to establish fair and equitable value received for value paid. How books are kept, what overhead is included in costs, how much management is covered by general conditions, the disbursements of contractor owned equipment, or the credit application of material discounts all can affect the bottom line.

We are surprised that the average citizen accepts the public comments that 'we saved $16,000' on the Tigard library in 2005. How in the world under the CM-GC process do you know you saved money?

If we are correct, that you overpay more than 10 percent (on a bonded job that is almost double) on a $12 million project, that's $1.2 million to $2.4 million in lost value.

BOB GRAY, general contractor since 1964

Robert Gray Partners Inc.

Tualatin

Kelly stands alone in the media world

Mikel Kelly gets it. After the uproar over the Imus comments, the apology and the backlash, Mikel Kelly stands alone in the media world.

What did he get? Imus can apologize for his horrible, just horrible remarks in the same cadence he uses when he condemns someone or some act as 'horrible, just horrible.' It's part of the show's routine to find something bad enough to be anointed 'horrible, just horrible.' This time he didn't have far to look, but it sounded the same when he said it.

He can lose his job, justly or unjustly. He can even get a haircut so he'll look less like the 'after face' from a year on meth. But he can never apologize for what Mikel and I heard, and apparently no one else in the vast audience listening to the replay. Don Imus can never apologize for his 'heh-heh-heh.'

That's the stereo-typed expression of the movie cop writing the underdog a ticket - 'Heh, heh, heh, son, you were sure speedin'.'

It's the sound of Mr. Burns in The Simpson cutting costs and putting his employees at greater risk, 'Heh, heh, heh.'

It's the sound of condescending power. Mikel Kelly called it a lecherous chuckle. It may have been that, but it was more, a sound that digs unpleasant images out of our shared history. In the end, 'heh-heh-heh' was answered beautifully by the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, 'uh-uh-uh,' and maybe a scolding finger wave.

DAVID GILLASPIE

Tigard

Coverage should include mental health

It comes as no surprise that the lack of adequate health insurance coverage is a major issue within our society. Far too many must go without basic medical treatment because of the high cost. Even for the insured, the cost can often be simply too much. Affordable health insurance is a complex issue that demands the fullest attention of our elected officials. It concerns us all, regardless of our respective socio-economic differences.

While health coverage has gained plenty of attention, it is important that we are also mindful of the mental health aspect of this debate. Currently there is considerable discussion in Congress regarding requiring health insurance providers to cover a patient's mental health needs in the same manner as their medical claims.

I support those members of our congressional delegation that recognize the importance of making sure that mental health coverage is treated as seriously, by the insurance industry, as medical coverage. From my perspective, it is a matter of fairness and common sense.

CHRIS BERGSTROM

Tualatin

Whitewash of Glenn shooting continues

I am sure many of your readers will mistakenly think I am having trouble getting over the death of young Luke Glenn last September. If it were a car accident or drowning, maybe that would be true. But it was rather the way he died with no accountability to those who dealt him and his family this blow that I am most upset.

The whitewash of his killing continues. Was anyone surprised with the results of the Washington County Sheriff's Office administrative review published April 12? All blame was placed on Luke with no real accountability for the mistakes and overzealous actions made by the authorities that terrible night.

I won't forget.

PERRY SMICK

Tigard

Public input on clinic locations needed

As noted in your paper online 'Union slams proposed Tualatin clinic,' there needs to be more community input in what type and where our health facilities are located.

What people don't realize is that health systems are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on expansion in Oregon, but, for the most part, they are not always building the facilities we need, especially in underserved communities.

We can give the community a voice by passing Senate Bill 948, the Community Voice in Health Care Planning bill. This legislation would promote local and regional health care facility planning processes driven by those who pay for and use health care services rather than those who make money off them.

DEBRA MCINTOSH

Tualatin