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Letters: K-9 support; AMR; Oregon Lottery; party politics; tobacco

by: PHOTO COURTESY: MILWAUKIE POLICE DEPARTMENT - This file photo shows Jag training with K9 officer Scott Huteson. Jag had to be euthenized in December 2012.Thanks for printing the previous article on this fundraising (“Foundation seeks funding for K9 officer,” Jan. 9).

I thought you might like to know what has happened in the previous month, especially as the article in the Clackamas Review prompted several generous donations. It was mentioned by some, and some donations came with a check clipped to the article.

So far the “100 @ $50” campaign has raised $2,435, almost half way to our target of $5,000. In addition the Hector Campbell Neighborhood Association made a donation of $1,000, the Linwood Neighborhood Association donated $250, and the Professional Firefighters Association of Clackamas County donated $250. We set a target of between $15,000 and $20,000, and we have now managed to raise $13,750, very close to the low end of what is needed to purchase and train a new K-9 officer.

As background—Jag was credited with 32 suspect apprehensions during his four-year service with the Milwaukie Police Department. Shaka was our second, and now only K-9 officer. Shaka is a narcotics dog, and certified to work with our K-9 Officer Billy Wells in 2011. She has been deployed on 89 occasions on drug missions.

K-9s enhance the ability to respond to certain types of calls that are highly beneficial to the community, and are deployed to help other departments when their K-9 officers are not available. Likewise other departments send their K-9 officers to Milwaukie when we need assistance. This was the case recently when K-9 officers from Clackamas County helped to track and apprehend two suspects seen taking parcels from the front step of a house in Milwaukie.

Milwaukie Public Safety Foundation is actively campaigning to raise funds to purchase a K-9 officer as a replacement for Jag. We are seeking donations, of any size, towards our 100@$50 campaign in which we hope to encourage 100 people to donate $50. Further information at milwaukiepsf.org/k9fund.

Dave Hedges

Milwaukie

Support for AMR

As a citizen of Clackamas County and with my family living within this county I feel I must respond to this article (“County digs into ambulance contract,” Jan. 30).

Clackamas County is a large county with a geographical area that is spread out from Wlisonville to over Mt Hood. The experience that the EMTs have in this county has developed over many decades.

The specialty programs are the best around. I guarantee a change in provider will cost lives. Do you want your family who called 911 to have a service that is unfamiliar with the area and doesn’t have the expertise needed for long transport times?

This is not a acceptable act by our commissioners, and there must have been some outside interest involved in attempting to replace some of the best paramedics and EMTs in the state.

Mike Raschio

Milwaukie

Good first steps

A state legislator from Milwaukie, Carolyn Tomei has introduced a package of bills designed to address some of the problems associated with the Oregon Lottery (“Beating the odds on addiction,” Jan. 30, and “Momentum builds for Oregon Lottery reforms,” Jan. 9).

Perhaps the most important of the three bills is HB 2167, which would cap the total amount of lottery revenue going to the state’s general fund. Under her proposal, all money above the cap would be diverted into a so-called “rainy day” fund, used only during times of fiscal crisis.

This would begin to address a central problem with the lottery, which is the mixed incentives it creates for legislators. On one hand, most of them pretend to be concerned about the growing problem of gambling addiction. Yet, when they use lottery money to pay for base funding of important state programs, they are incentivized to promote gambling.

When priorities collide, the lottery as cash cow always trumps concerns about gambling addiction.

The best solution would be to get state government out of the gambling business entirely; but since that’s not politically feasible, cutting off some of the revenue to the state’s general fund is a good first step. If the cap is set low enough, it potentially could force legislators to look elsewhere for base funding, or maybe even cut spending. Either option would be better than the status quo.

John A. Charles Jr.

Cascade Policy Institute

Party politics

Is the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners broken, dysfunctional or what?

Several years ago, the voters of Clackamas County passed a measure to change the Board of Commissioners from partisan to a nonpartisan position/job. That means: Do your job, represent your constituents, and the political party you are affiliated with has nothing to do with the job and the decisions you make. Leave your party affiliation at the door!

That is not what is happening. What party they are affiliated with splits the Board of Commissioners in their working environment. The media reports their name with their party affiliation. The community talks about the commissioners with the party name included. The current commissioners support those running for open commissioner positions by party trying to out beat the other one. The commissioners also support or don’t support those in other Clackamas County nonpartisan jobs according to their party.

Apparently, the commissioners don’t understand the term nonpartisan. If they can’t do their job in a nonpartisan manner, then it is time we change it back to partisan jobs so that the voters and commissioners are all on the same page.

Sue Conachan

Oak Grove

Take action against tobacco use

Each year, 443,000 people die from tobacco-related illness and secondhand-smoke exposure. It is important that Oregon invest in our tobacco-prevention programs so that we can keep kids off of tobacco and help smokers quit.

The first step is to invest tobacco settlement funds and other tobacco-related revenue into evidence-based tobacco-prevention programs. Sadly, Oregon joins many other states in neglecting to properly invest its annual tobacco-settlement funds and tobacco taxes to implement proven tactics that save lives and reduce tobacco-related disease.

According to the American Lung Association’s just released “State of Tobacco Control’’ report, Oregon received an F for tobacco control program funding. Currently, we only fund our program at 17.5 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended level.

Oregon must make it a priority to invest in programs that will prevent youth tobacco use and help smokers quit. The 2012 Surgeon General’s report states that failure to invest in programs and policies to reduce tobacco use will result in 3 million new youth smokers, with a third of them dying from their addiction. If states invest in tobacco-prevention programs today, youth-tobacco use would be cut in half in just six years.

Tobacco use touches all of our lives, and for many of us the stakes are very high. In our family, my nonsmoker mother died of lung cancer and my father died as a result of chronic lung issues.

It is imperative that we encourage our state representatives to more fully fund Oregon’s tobacco prevention and control programs through available tobacco-settlement funds. I encourage the public to visit stateoftobaccocontrol.org to view Oregon’s grades and to take action!

Irene Pugh

Damascus



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