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Letters to the editor

It’s time to rekindle the light of Damascus

Tuesday’s editorial in The Outlook advocates a “yes” vote on disincorporating Damascus, Measure 93, reversing its position opposing disincorporation in November, 2013.

The opinion rehearses the obstacles which then lay before the city, when it advocated keeping the city. Now it believes that was “wrong.” It cites certain details that led the paper to reverse its former decision.

But the problem with citing almost all of these details as justification for “turning out the lights” on Damascus is that these aren’t matters that occurred after the election of a new mayor, as the article suggests (note “then came” various events), but prior to it. It’s old news.

It’s unfortunate that a newspaper should be so dated and exacerbate the situation with lack of light.

So what light has our city spread since 2013? We’ve completed the Anderegg Park, repaired roads, reduced the tax burden/rate a second time down to $2.80 per $1,000 (a 15 percent drop over four to five years), referred an initiative to revise the spending limitation (failing only by 49 votes), ended an unfair, unconstitutional law forced on Damascus; and we’re working on new transportation plans, and forwarding to this November a vote to restrict marijuana as we (not the County) see fit and to have a new, functional charter.

Our future would be brighter if the mayor and those elected with her would have resisted disincorporation and focused on supporting the city; and if this vote weren’t being illegally forced on us by the Legislature.

The main argument The Outlook used in 2013 to oppose disincorporation was self-determination. It still holds. Being annexed and becoming like Hungry Valley with its high density is becoming a reality.

In January that city announced its new East Happy Valley Comprehensive Plan to annex land a mile farther east, to the town center of Damascus.

Metro is involved. By keeping the city we people will decide our own marijuana regulations, density, zoning, law enforcement, traffic congestion, protection of natural resources, road repair, new roads, parks, etc.

We are not where we were two years ago. We’ve learned that past extremist views are dysfunctional. In this “do or die” situation, we can minimize differences and magnify agreements to work together for a new, brighter future, for our splendid city. All we need is new fuel to stoke up the lights.

James De Young

City Councilor

Damascus

Mark Johnson will do what’s best for district

I have always been a supporter of Rep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood River. Over the last six years, Mark has been present and has established himself on the mountain as someone who we can rely on.

It is important that Mark be recognized for his efforts to solve each issue that is brought to his attention, because we don’t have this type of individualized representation and leadership from the other elected leaders in our area.

Mark has held many forums and made an effort to be available as needed. This makes Mark a unique representative because too often, the local community is not taken into consideration when decisions are made in Salem.

As long as Mark Johnson continues to serve as our state representative, I know that he will do what is best for us and that our community will be well-represented.

I urge you to join me in voting to re-elect Mark Johnson in the upcoming election.

Petr Kakes

Rhododendron

Editor’s Note: Rep. Mark johnson cannot be re-elected in the upcoming election. He is unopposed as he seeks the Republican nomination for House District 52 in the May 17 election. Johnson will advance to the November general election when he will be challenged for his seat by the nominee from the Democratic Party.

Corbett bond request overstates the need

Once again the Corbett School District is putting forth a general obligation bond for more than is necessary for local students.

The bond discussion is for a new 33,750 square foot building to replace the existing 15,600 building, in addition 2,000 square feet for administration and 4,200 square feet for science labs.

This $15.9 million project is considered “phase one” of an eventual $25 million project, with less than $3.5 million going to safety improvements for the students.

The bond language doesn’t talk about what is planned, because the Corbett School Board voted on a dollar amount, not a project list, so you as a voter don’t really know what you’ll get, except for the larger school building.

The bigger building is needed to accommodate the large influx of out-of-district students, (approximately half of Corbett students). In 2011 the Legislature created a bill so students who do not live here, but have been “open enrolled,” are called resident students and we are responsible for them until they graduate.

For those of you who believed we only have resident students and that we were not being asked to “build for the charter,” well, the charter is gone, but the students stayed.

Right now this bill will end July 1, 2017. If it does, the district the students live in will have to approve if a student leaves. With increased charter schools and alternative schools in the neighboring districts, they may decide not to OK transfers.

If this law changes, where do we find the “replacement” students for those graduating, and who are we putting in this “extra” space?

Local student numbers have been fairly steady for the past 20 years, let’s be responsible to our community and not “overbuild” Corbett schools.

Gary Purvine

Corbett