Republicans offer return to Bush policies

If you are to believe the media, there are still thousands of undecided voters out there. After 18 months of constant political torture I find that absolutely ludicrous.

As a progressive Democrat I’ve never had a moment of doubt as to any of my choices. Perhaps there is a dilemma for those of you who prefer to be called a Republican or Independent. It might be wise to ask yourself a few questions before deciding.

Do I want to return to the same old policies the Bush administration offered that almost destroyed this country? Do I really want more deregulation of Wall Street and the corporate polluters? How about another war or two?

Do I really think that if Romney is elected he will be running the show or will his strings be pulled by the Koch brothers, Carl Rove, Grover Norquist, Sheldon Adelson and others of their ilk?

On the other hand if you care about the Constitution, separation of church and state, the rights of women regarding health issues and equal pay, a more compassionate health care plan for all, Social Security and Medicare, keeping jobs in America and public education then I suggest you give Romney a miss.

As of today Oregonians still have the right to cast their vote. Unfortunately for many minorities, students and seniors in states such as Florida, Arizona, Texas and a few Midwest states, voter suppression and intimidation are becoming the norm. It is curious that this trend is much more prevalent in states with Republican governors.

Lin Vanderzanden

Forest Grove

Romney claim on oil is ludicrous

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has asserted that if he is elected, we will be able to stop importing oil from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia within three years.

Coming from a non-candidate, that statement might have seemed just ludicrous. But it is hard to believe that someone who aspires to high office could be that deluded and misinformed.

Our appetite for petroleum makes it impossible for us to neglect any source, no matter how unfriendly the country of origin. We are not likely to be in the position to say no to anyone in the near future. At the very least, candidate Romney might lend his support to alternative fuel sources, which he does not. Meanwhile, we are stuck with importing foreign oil, Mr. Romney’s fantasies notwithstanding.

David Pauli

Forest Grove

Buehler is the ‘real thing’

Knute Buehler, candidate for Oregon Secretary of State, would be a welcome addition to our state’s leadership.

I have known Knute for more than 20 years. When I first met him, he was in medical school at Johns Hopkins University. He told me about his home state of Oregon, and how anxious he was to move back. He was, however, worried about his state’s economy and was looking forward to being involved in making Oregon greater. After a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University in England, Knute returned to Oregon to train in orthopedic surgery at Oregon Health & Science University.

While in training, he wrote and passed a ballot measure to reform campaign financing. He then joined and grew a thriving medical practice in Bend. He traveled overseas to train other surgeons in joint replacement. All the while, over dinners and on hikes, my husband, Dave and I would talk with Knute about Oregon, his ideas for our state, and about his dream to get more involved.

This past year, Knute jumped in feet first by running for Secretary of State. Knute’s goals include more open elections (allowing independents to participate in the primary process), making Oregon more business friendly, and verifying that state agencies are staying on task.

I am a registered Democrat but pride myself on voting for the best candidate, regardless of party. Knute is a moderate Republican in the mold of Mark Hatfield. He is intelligent, articulate and cares and thinks deeply about Oregon. He really is the antidote to the lament “why isn’t anyone good running for office?” Knute is the real thing.

I am gratified that our state’s newspaper editorial boards agree. Knute has been endorsed by The Oregonian, Willamette Week, the Eugene Register-Guard, the Bend Bulletin, the Roseburg News-Review and the Grants Pass Daily Courier.

I encourage you to vote for Knute Buehler for Oregon’s Secretary of State.

Lisa Reynolds


Gas tax drives up cost of travel

I urge the voters of Cornelius to vote “yes” on Measure 34-201 and repeal the two-cent per gallon gas tax only paid in Cornelius. We are all paying a total of 51.6 cents on every gallon of gas we buy. For an average fill of 12 gallons we are paying more than $6 in gas taxes.

The City of Cornelius needs to use the money it gets from these gas taxes and fix the roads just like Forest Grove, Beaverton and Hillsboro do without charging us the extra two cents per gallon.

If Forest Grove, Hillsboro and Beaverton City governments can take care of their roads without the two cents per gallon, so can Cornelius. Please vote “yes” on Measure 34-201 and let’s repeal the two-cent extra gas tax!

Bob Barman


Cornelius has better sources of money

Wow! I looked up what Cornelius Walmart was paying in property tax because someone told me they paid about $269,000 in property taxes each year. In fact they pay $269,865 in property taxes. Thank you, Walmart.

Why does the City of Cornelius have to charge my family an extra two cents when that kind of money is coming in from just one business? My family is on a very tight budget and every penny counts.

I say the city should use all the new money they are getting from Walmart, Sonic Burger, and Virginia Garcia Health Center and stop collecting the two cents per gallon extra from us. Please join me and vote “yes” on Measure 34-201 to end the Cornelius gas tax. At least we would be paying the same as Beaverton, Forest Grove and Hillsboro.

Sara Gutierrez


Uhing a tireless advocate for the city

As one of her many city council duties, Elena Uhing serves as council liaison for the Forest Grove Historic Landmarks Board (HLB) of which I am a member.

When I first volunteered for the HLB three years ago, I was immediately impressed by Elena’s wisdom, her strong work ethic, and her vast knowledge of the “responsible” way to do things when representing the City of Forest Grove.

I’m not the only board member who finds themselves regularly amazed and grateful for Elena’s insights that frequently save our team of nine volunteers from steering in the wrong direction. And we’re all aware of Elena’s tireless efforts as our favorite City Council member who fights hard for economic development while helping to protect our town’s amazing historic buildings and small-town way of life. I hope you’ll join me in re-electing Elena Uhing for the Forest Grove City Council.

Holly Tsur

Forest Grove

Lowe, Uhing and Kidd are best for council

I am supporting Victoria Lowe and Elena Uhing for Forest Grove City Council and had already put their campaign signs in my front lawn. 

I was not sure who I would support for the other position. But after talking with Richard Kidd in my home, asking him some very direct questions about the flag pole controversy, about the reports by commissions to the City Council and how those reports are acted on, and his vision of what he wants to do on the council as a councilor not as mayor, I asked him for a yard sign. 

This was before the News-Times endorsed Lowe, Uhing and Kidd.  I concur with the reasons that the News-Times gave in that endorsement. 

One factor in my support of any candidate is how they will act to support the city’s Vision Statement on Sustainability:

“Forest Grove is a Destination that offers visitors and residents a community recognized for its commitment to conserve, preserve, and protect and restore our natural assets.”

Then three objectives are listed: 

1. Maintain and improve the quality of air, water, soil, etc, to ensure livability by using leading technology and land use methods.

2. Promote Forest Grove as “the Greenest City in Oregon” through landscaping and ecologically sound industry, businesses, utilities, transportation and development.

3. To be recognized by an organization such as the Green Guide as a “Green City.”

About a year ago the city invited interested community members to participate in a meeting related to sustainability. 

That ad hoc Committee on Sustainability gradually became a standing committee that agreed to meet once a month.

After the chair of the committee made a presentation to the council for funding, the council decided to budget some seed money to put on the first of three Sustainability Summits, which was held last Saturday.

I personally invited candidates Aldie Howard and Victoria Johnson to attend the Sustainability Summit sponsored by the City of Forest Grove Ad hoc Committee on Sustainability, Metro and Pacific University. 

I look forward to talking with all the City Council candidates about sustainability and how they will deal with the detailed information that has been gathered on energy use, transportation, water, jobs, education, solid waste and recycling. I doubt whether I will change my position, but I will listen carefully. 

Effective change is based upon knowing what you are doing now so that a baseline can be established to monitor growth and change. 

Dale Feik

Forest Grove

Paper’s candidate criticism was petty

Traditionally, newspapers publish editorial opinions based on confirmed and corroborated facts. I’m disappointed that the News-Times has not followed that standard.

The Oct. 17 endorsement of city council candidates makes misrepresentations and inaccuracies about me and recites facts not relevant to my qualifications.

The endorsement lists petty reasons (from my “recent” track record) to suggest that I’m not an appropriate candidate. For instance, when I was employed as interim city administrator in the City of Vernonia during the aftermath of the devastating flood of 2008, the endorsement notes I did not give a “resident” a copy of the city’s budget.  

The fact is that the resident was a member of the staff of a local newspaper and he was asking for a copy of the “draft budget.”  My employer, the city council, specifically instructed me not to distribute the draft until the proposed budget was final.  

If the editors of the News-Times had taken the time to research this, they would have learned the truth.  

The endorsement also claims there was a “silly scrap over utility bills” while I was with the City of Vernonia.  The “scrap” was a refusal by a Vernonia resident to pay his utility bill that included charges for city services that he claimed he didn’t use, such as maintenance of the city parks.  

No resident has the right to cherry pick which utility services he will pay for and which he won’t.  Though this was explained to him, the resident became irate and screamed obscenities at me and my staff.  I showed him the door.  It was a “scrap,” but it wasn’t silly. Nevertheless it has nothing to do with my qualifications for the Forest Grove City Council.

And, yes, I called for the resignation of Councilor Tom BeLusko because of his employment as a partner in the WSC Insurance agency, which collects premiums and benefits from the sale of insurance policies to the city.  Oregon law ORS 221.921 specifically states that “no mayor, council member or any other officer of any city . . . during the period for which the officer is elected, shall be interested in any contract the expenses of which are to be paid out of the city treasury.”  How can my call for his resignation be considered unwarranted?  And why didn’t the News-Times, as a “watch dog” for the community, demand BeLusko’s resignation?

Even if the endorsement had the facts straight, the list of reasons for the “no recommendation” is petty and juvenile.  The News-Times has the right to not recommend me, but an unwarranted attack is less than appropriate.

Aldie Howard

Forest Grove

Eyre’s finance background a plus

For those of you out there in Oregon House District 29, I am supporting Katie Eyre in her re-election bid. I feel that Katie has done a very nice job of supporting my views in the Legislature. I’m also a firm believer that in order to fully understand the job of State Representative and vote on budget issues that an individual should have a solid background in business or finance. Katie does just that in being a CPA.

What I find interesting is how her opponent Ben Unger insists on attacking Katie’s record of service in the Oregon House, while going into great detail about being a local product from Cornelius, working on the family farm and insinuating that he is a man of the people, for the people, on his website. While this is all very nice, nowhere does it mention what he does for a living other than talk about his service in government. There was brief mention of him working for Safeway at some point in his life but it’s not clear when he actually worked for Safeway.

I’ve also discovered through some research on my own that he worked on the campaign supporting the passage of Measure 49 in 2007. How can he claim to be man of the people supporting the people? I’m also very curious to understand how he claims to be a Cornelius local yet all of his “local” education is in Hillsboro?

Ben also did not do himself any favors, in my opinion, by declining to participate in the KUIK radio debate with Katie.

I don’t want another government bureaucrat who is more interested in attacking his opponent and pushing the party line in this time when we need more support for business to create jobs.

Nathan Edgecomb

Forest Grove

Eyre’s record at odds with mailings

I’m sure I’m not the only one whose mailbox has been bulging with huge pieces of mail from Rep. Katie Eyre promoting her campaign for State Representative for Hillsboro and Forest Grove.

I expect waves of promotional mail at election time, but people in Rep. Eyre’s district deserve a more complete picture of her than is coming from her large mailings. Eyre seems to have settled on her background in accounting as her key selling point. That’s fine. But voters should know more about her record.

Eyre is a hard-line Republican who has sponsored bills restricting abortion rights (HB 3512), mandating industrial-style clear-cutting of the state forests (HB 4098), and cutting taxes for people making more than $125,000 per year (HB 3281).

Voters should also know that Eyre has taken money for her campaigns from the out-of-state cigarette company Philip Morris and a bankers’ political action committee.

So, when you get your next calendar-sized mailing from Eyre that declares she’s “not a politician,” think again.

Bob Van Dyk

Forest Grove

Eyre understands small business

I am truly worried about our state’s economy. When politicians like Ben Unger call for higher taxes it really concerns me. Does he not understand how basic economics work?

If you take more money from small businesses they aren’t able to hire more workers and the unemployment rate will continue to increase. I’m supporting Katie Eyre. She is a CPA who works with small business owners every day.

She understands what it takes to create jobs and that is why we have to keep her working for us in Salem. We need more people like Katie Eyre serving the public. We need more public officials who understand that my family and I know how to spend our money better than the government.

Aundrea Larson

Forest Grove

Ignore party-line endorsements

I’d like to know the count of support your newspaper has shown for candidates from the two major parties (Democrat and Republican). I haven’t kept tally, but the sense I get is that you nearly always throw in for the Democrat.

So your claim to have supported Katie Eyre in the last cycle was a surprise to me, although I trust you are remembering correctly. But why the switch now?

I doubt your claim that Unger’s views on the named social issues “are better aligned” with the voters would stand if every voter in the district were to respond to a fair and even-handed poll (no “push-polls,” please).

Is this then just another pure party-line endorsement? You admit that Katie Eyre has done a good job as our State Representative, but you are willing to vote her out ... why?

It’s time for each voter to look beyond party affiliation and vote for candidates that will work to do the absolute best for all of us, and the coming generations. We need to return to strong moral principles, strong values and strong families.

I’ve learned to generally discount your recommendations based largely on your support for David Wu when he ran against Rob Cornilles. I hope that the rest of the voters will examine the facts and think for themselves. By the way, you still own Mr. Cornilles, and your readers, an apology.

Harold Hutchison

Forest Grove

Rep. Eyre is a promising lawmaker

Reading about the upcoming election in the local papers, I have been surprised to see there is actual doubt about the re-election of one of our most promising freshman legislators, Katie Eyre.

Eyre’s skills as the only CPA in the Legislature have been critical in keeping state spending under control and preventing the state from spending phantom 66/67 revenues that did not materialize. And as a member of the Hillsboro School District’s Curriculum Committee, I especially appreciated her role in passing the recent education reforms, which have expanded opportunities for all of Oregon’s children. I hope the rest of House District 29 will join me in voting to re-elect Katie Eyre.

Erik Seligman


Unger’s accomplishments benefited home town

Ben Unger spent most of his life in the Hillsboro area. Like most young people, he left home after college for work. Criticism of his return to the area is a desperate attempt to discredit a fine young man. All citizens of House District 29, including those who rent, have benefited from Ben’s public policy accomplishments.

Don’t let a desperate politician drag a good man down.

Linda Erickson


Small businesses don’t want more taxes

As a small business owner I am scared to death. Apparently I have a target on my back and politicians like Ben Unger clearly have me in their cross hairs.

I am struggling and trying to do my best in this sluggish economy but Ben Unger thinks I need to pay more to the government. I support government 100 percent but I also believe government has some waste and inefficiency and should try to spend its money more wisely before raising my taxes.

Just a few months ago Oregon paid out a $1.5 million fraudulent tax refund. That’s a lot of money and yet they want more? I just want the government to clean up its own house before coming after more of my money and hurting my small business.

I read somewhere that Ben Unger once said that “businesses don’t have a heart.” Well I have a heart and I have a family to support and I vote and I won’t be voting for Ben Unger.

Denise Renner


Unger understands education is key

I will be voting for Ben Unger for State Representative in District 29. He understands how important education is for our families and our community. 

Ben knows education is the foundation for a healthy and functional society and is willing to defend our schools.  Ben has been endorsed by the teachers of the Oregon Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and Stand for Children.  Ben has a clear vision of what it will take to repair and strengthen our educational system.  He sees a lower class size, a strong basic curriculum with art, music and P.E.

 When I hear Ben speak about education I can feel the passion in his voice. I know that Ben will be a great representative for everyone, as Ben always listens to all points of view and weighs the information carefully before making a choice.

Judith Albay


Voting against schools budget belies claims

How can Katie Eyre headline her House District 29 campaign with “Putting Education First?”

Both she and Rep. Shawn Lindsay voted no on HB 5552, the school budget bill. Fortunately, it was passed by both the full House and the Senate. Also, neither of these Washington County representatives backed HB 3641 to add to the school budget from other funds.

Her literature says “Katie led the way in Salem to protect funding for K-12 education.” The old adage says “figures don’t lie; liars figure.” So, I guess since the budget passed, which included the school budget, and since Katie was a member of the House at that time, she can take credit for “protecting funding for K-12 education” even though she voted against it.

Ben Unger, we need you more now than ever before.

Steve Hall


Lindsay’s ties to group are troubling

It’s time for a change in House District 30 because Representative Shawn Lindsay is out of touch with the people of his district and the people of Oregon. While he is quick to call out a perceived personal attack when his former Democratic opponent states he is out of step with his district, Shawn Lindsay is not as forthcoming about his active participation in American Legislative Exchange Council.

ALEC is an organization that creates far-right wing bill templates and provides them to state legislators to use as models for actual laws. Examples of the templates in their arsenal include privatization of government services, penalizing college students who take longer than four years to complete their degrees, a resolution that supports privatizing Medicare and support for stand-your-ground gun laws.

Not only has Shawn Lindsay accepted campaign donations from out of state organizations linked to ALEC but he has also accepted a “scholarship” to attend an ALEC-sponsored public policy seminar in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 27. Major companies like Walmart and Amgen recently dropped their association with ALEC yet Shawn Lindsay has not.

If these corporations are finding their association with ALEC is no longer worthwhile, why does Rep. Lindsay? To put it simply, Rep. Lindsay is putting his need for money ahead of his commitment to the people of House District 30 by remaining an ALEC member and it’s high time for a change in House District 30.

Matt Koehler


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