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Letters published in the Spotlight on Oct. 28, 2016

FILE PHOTO - Letters to the editor published in the Oct. 28, 2016, issue of the Spotlight

Voting for Magruder

I am voting for Margaret Magruder for the Columbia County Board of County Commissioners.

She says her priorities are: “a great place to live, a great place to work and a great place to play.”

I agree Columbia County is all of those things and a new county commissioner should use every ounce of energy and commitment to understand and then act for the good of the county.

We are a growing community and need to act with great respect and responsibility in order to retain our livability and protect our resources for future generations.

Margaret will use her skills to collaborate with citizens and businesses to correct shortcomings and plan for the long-term for future generations. I urge you to vote for her.

Paulette Lichatowich

Columbia City

Support the jail

Three years ago the citizens of Columbia County were asked to vote “yes” on a jail levy. After (somewhat) reading the pros and cons of the measure, I voted “no.”

However, it passed and I thought, “Oh great, more property tax wasted.”

Shortly after the election, I was approached by a county commissioner and asked if I would be interested in being a part of a citizens’ committee to monitor spending of this money, to be sure the money went only to the jail.

The last three years I have chaired this committee and have seen how the money was spent and not wasted. The jail money was properly spent to enhance the process of jail operations.

I ask you to please vote yes on Measure 5-257 and allow the jail to continue its work. Please go out and vote.

Dick Lager


Jail Operating Citizens

Advisory Committee

Ask Magruder about your property taxes

I just received my property tax bill and, to my disappointment, my tax bill is up again. I guess I should consider myself lucky because I know people who own properties with tax increases of 5-10 percent this year.

I found this link: http://www.co.columbia.or.us/files/assessor/2016_Data/District_Taxes_Imposed_Comparison.pdf and the county assessor reports the overall taxes imposed increased 5.80 percent from 2015 to 2016. 

Past years are always 3 percent or more. In the news this week, Social Security payments annual increase is next to nothing again, yet Medicare Part B & D premiums are going up and private health insurance premiums are going up 25 percent. 

What do those on a fixed income do? 

For working folks, has your paycheck seen a steady increase like your taxes? Can any of us really pay more?

This especially concerns me, because our county, state and federal politicians are always telling us they need more of our money. We all know the national debt is so huge it is hard to comprehend, yet this is how the feds keep the checks flowing.

Columbia County is the most indebted county in the state of Oregon, so our local governments are doing the same thing.  If our nation can’t control spending and balance the books, we need to do our best to find a balance locally. 

This is a question Ms. Magruder, who is running for county commissioner, should be able to answer because she has been on the county budget committee for almost 20 years and supported the decisions that have gotten us into debt.

She is now trying to claim she will work hard to get us out of debt. I suspect this means Ms. Magruder will continue to increase property taxes and/or debt if elected. 

Ms. Magruder’s past poor decisions on the county’s budget committee has helped get us into this mess, so I cannot vote for her for county commissioner.

Instead, I will vote for Wayne Mayo, who wants to tackle this problem without raising our property taxes and debt.

His modest campaign expenditures are proof he is not obligated to special interests to spend our money.

Geoff Wenker


Honesty and integrity = Wayne Mayo

I have known Wayne Mayo personally and professionally for 30 years. He has done work for me over those years at my home, my rental and my business.

Consistently he has been a person of integrity and honesty that I appreciate.

He will be like “The Rooster Guarding the Hen House” when it comes to the business of Columbia County.

He will apply his God-given characteristics that have guided him throughout his life.

He will make our county stronger by good example.

We couldn’t pick a more caring, decent man as our county commissioner.

Join me in giving Wayne Mayo your support.

Barbara Day


Sham elections are upon us

An election is supposed to be that glorious moment when “We the People” interject our voices and either endorse current officials and their policies or else change drivers and directions. Instead, this year — like so many recent elections — all we seem to have is an opportunity to acquiesce to more of what we’ve had for so long. 

Existing powers are well entrenched. Even the most contended choice before us, ballot Measure 97, leaves us with a half-choice.  Either vote “no” and rubber stamp the existing excessive spending, or, vote “yes” and give the rubber stamp more ink than it has ever had before.  I am one dissatisfied voter.

Where are the real choices on this ballot? Growing up, I was told about the sham elections in the Communist countries.  We’ve arrived.

Bob Ekstrom


The Reeds’ questionable ethics

I like Mark Reed. I have known both he and his family since he taught my ninth-grade French class. His father was one of my favorite teachers, and taught me the lesson that getting 100 percent is not good enough to be excellent.

However, Mr. Reed’s selection of Craig Marquardo as his campaign manager makes me question his judgment and his ability to hold any public office.

A simple Goggle search for Mr. Marquardo turns up a Willamette Week article from 2008 which says it best, “Craig Marquardo’s name is mud.” Mr. Reed has asserted that he did not know about Marquardo’s checkered past that includes numerous false claims, including his career as a singer for Sting at 15, a Pro baseball player at 17, a Purple Heart winner and, most annoying to me, an interview with Leonard Nimoy that did not take place — all with no proof or documentation. Despite Mr. Reed’s assertion that he knew nothing about Marquardo’s past — and apparently can’t use Goggle — I have documentation that Mr. Reed received an information packet on Marquardo in January 2013 when Marquardo applied for an open position on Scappoose City Council and the city staff presented a report on each of the candidates. Marquardo’s past, including his felony conviction of election fraud, was included in that packet.

Has Mr. Marquardo’s inability to tell the truth rubbed off on Mr. Reed?

I am cohost of a KOHI, Odd Friday. After our Oct. 21 show I challenged Mr. Reed to disavow Mr. Marquardo’s letter in the Spotlight last week which contains a number of false statements. I hope to see a letter from Mr. Reed next to mine in this paper.

If it isn’t here, it represents yet another broken promise by Mark Reed.

Marquardo’s letter says that Mr. Burge did a back room deal to fire former City Manager Jon Hakken. When, in fact, it was Reed and other councilors who voted to remove Hanken. Mayor Scott Burge voted “no.”

Marquardo also blames Mayor Burge for losing a multimillion dollar lawsuit, when in fact it was Reed who testified against the city in that lawsuit. Other city councilors said it would be unethical to testify at all that case — but that did not stop Mr. Reed.

Mr. Marquardo then goes on to basically say that since Mayor Burge is not part of the 1%, he is not fit to serve as mayor. Marquardo criticizes Burge for not being a home owner — while, at the same time, Mr. Marquardo himself is not. He also implies that Mayor Burge is a second-class citizen because of this.

I wonder if Marquardo tells the residents of the apartment complex he manages that they are second-class citizens who are unfit to serve in public office because they are renters?

As a small business owner in Scappoose, I like that Mayor Burge is not part of the 1% and is himself a small business owner, and personally knows the struggles that small business owners face. Not everyone has a cushy PERS retirement, such as the one enjoyed by Mr. Reed. It is that kind of personal knowledge that prompted Mayor Burge to suspend the city license fees — an act that gained the city national attention — and several cities then copied that action.

Probably 90 percent of small business owners rent or lease space. Many, like me, also don’t live within the city limits and don’t get to vote for city issues like mayor.

We are dependent on elected officials to represent our interests. Mark Reed has made it clear we don’t matter to him unless we own property. The days of having to be white, male and a property owner are long since gone. Renters are people too.

Marquardo is also running Debbie Reed’s campaign for the Columbia River People’s Utility District. It seems her only requirement for running is having attended a lot of PUD meetings — that, and questionable ethics. She and her husband, Mark Reed, are currently involved in a defamation and slander lawsuit where they again have been accused of lying.

I only wish I lived in Scappoose (where I spend most of my time) instead of St. Helens so I could vote for Nancy Ward for PUD and Scott Burge for mayor. Both of them have a record of transparency, integrity and honesty that their opponents lack.

Brady Preheim

St. Helens

My opinions keep flowing

Some of you might remember that a couple of years ago, a fellow I met told me he really enjoyed the letters I write to the editors — they were opinionated but, nonetheless, he looked forward to them in the papers and online.

I remain opinionated and I would like to share some opinions for the upcoming elections.

-- First, I am totally looking forward to our first woman president.

-- I am looking forward to Wayne Mayo joining Alex Tardif as the new county commissioner in January. I look forward to new councilpersons in both Scappoose and St. Helens and a new mayor in St. Helens.

-- I am looking forward to Nancy Ward being the new board representative from Scappoose for the Columbia River People’s Utility District and that board actually following the rules.

I am not looking forward to:

-- Another multi-million dollar “forever” levy for the jail when absolutely no effort has been made to change the amount we receive for housing federal prisoners.

-- Now, for state Measure 97. Let me tell you a story that happened a couple of weeks ago. My husband and I were waiting for a business to open when a few people who we knew to be public employees were discussing retirement. One fellow and his wife had just retired under the Public Employee Retirement System, PERS. They had just purchased a home and a 2016 Jeep in Hawaii. They were on their way to Seattle to have their second car shipped to the islands and they would be gone for good in a few days.

I’d say “good for them” if our state funds were not being drained dry by trying to support the PERS.

If Measure 97 passes, big money corporations will be adding to Oregon’s tax income enormously — and this is good. However, the downside is this tax money will go into the general fund and the Legislature can spend it anyway they wish — and they wish to get rid of the $22 billion deficit for PERS. Thereby, PERS would be caught up to date and the Legislature would not have to worry about fixing it — for a while.

But if Measure 97 does not pass, the taxpayers will still be footing the bill for PERS. What it comes down to is that the decisions to make changes in PERS cannot be made by those who will benefit by leaving it as it is.

A “no” vote on Measure 97 just might force the governing body for the state of Oregon to face up to the PERS dilemma now rather than later.

I enjoyed this. I expect some of you will not.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

Why I can’t vote for Mayo

I see a lot of letters supporting Wayne Mayo filled with kind words. While I have no reason not to believe that Mr. Mayo is a nice guy, when voting for a county commissioner I look to track records and think that one’s actions speak louder than words.

I expect our county commissioners to be thorough and accurate. In 2010 Mayo authored a local ballot measure that was later found, in the courts, to be “illegal and unenforceable” the way it was written.

I expect our commissioners to shoot straight with the voters and be honest about their record. In 2014 Mayo embellished on his record regarding his involvement with the CRPUD formation in the Voters’ Pamphlet in an obvious attempt to make himself look better.

I expect our county commissioners to know the law and abide by the law. This year, Mayo has erected billboard sized signs on Highway 30 that are ten times the size allowed by Oregon state law as well as erecting signs early in Scappoose. Someone who has run this many times should certainly know the local and state sign ordinances by now; they are posted on the County Elections website. He has either chosen to ignore the law or hasn’t taken the time to learn it.

I expect our commissioners to support local business whenever possible and practice what they preach. According to ORESTAR campaign finance reports, Mayo had his campaign signs made in southern Oregon and bought his hardware at Home Depot and Tacoma Screw.

I expect our commissioners to be transparent and to abide by the ethical standards set out by the State in campaigning. As of the writing of this letter, Mayo has not reported the expenses associated with the printing of the 20,000+ flyers for insert twice in all the local papers, nor the expenses of inserting those flyers in two of the publications, nor where the money came from to pay those expenses. The State requires expenses to be reported within 7 days of being incurred. This is either an attempt to be sneaky as his campaign touts how little he spends or just sloppy recordkeeping.

I believe we all make mistakes and anyone deserves a pass once in a while but when they start stacking up, as in Mayo’s case, it is grounds for one to take pause. This is why I can’t vote for Wayne Mayo.

Blair Walter

Columbia City

Editor’s note: Blair Walter is identified on the Oregon Secretary of State’s campaign finance website as a paid consultant for the Margaret Magruder campaign.

Disappointed gravel tax proposal back on ballot

We were disappointed to see a proposal to increase Columbia County’s natural resource depletion fee on the ballot once again. County voters have already turned this idea down twice, and yet, the same people keep putting this ill-conceived idea back on the ballot.Our county is already the only one in the states of Oregon or Washington to collect a 15-cents-per-ton fee on gravel being mined here. Increasing it by 200 percent, as Measure 5-255 would do, puts local jobs in the highly-competitive gravel industry at risk.

Singling out one industry over another for a special tax is fundamentally unfair. The last thing Columbia County needs to do is to gain a reputation of being unfriendly to business and industry.

If we tax gravel even more, one might ask, what industry will be next?Join us in voting no on Measure 5-255.

Phil and Debbie Hazen


A vote for Mayo is a vote for common sense, accountability

This is the most important election of our lives without a doubt, not only nationally, but statewide and locally as well.

I will skip talking about the national scene and the “pathocracy” going on at the state level and go right to talking about an important local election.

Come January, two of our county commissioners will be brand new, and one of them still needs to be decided in November. The choice we will have in this upcoming election is between Wayne Mayo and Margaret Magruder.

Wayne Mayo has had propaganda smear campaigns against him for years by the left. I recently talked to several people who told me that they would not vote for him because they didn’t like him. When I told them that Wayne was a genuinely nice guy and asked them why they didn’t like him, they couldn’t give me a reason. It turns out that these people didn’t even know Wayne and had been conditioned over time to feel the way they did.

When I explained that Wayne is a good guy, a family man who loves this county, would be approachable, would keep us informed of what was going on with the county, has the county and its citizens best interests at heart, believes in the Constitution and the rule of law; every one of them had a change of heart and decided to vote for him.

If you do not know Wayne, please contact him or attend one of his speeches and go up and ask questions; I believe you will vote for him too.

I don’t know a lot about Magruder except that she doesn’t seem to have a lot of answers to questions and that the rumor is she was asked to run to “continue the progressive (Marxist) agenda in Columbia County.”

If Magruder wins, all three board members will be far left, and we have seen what that does to communities. Oregon is being run — or should I say run into the ground — by a far left super majority that does not have your best interests at heart; this will be very evident in a couple of years once their agenda is felt. Just look at Detroit if you want to see what happens when the left have total sustained control.

I ask that you consider voting for Wayne Mayo for county commissioner. A vote for Wayne is a vote for accountability and common sense in a world that doesn’t seem to have much these days.

A vote for Wayne is a vote to protect your best interests and those of your children. The alternative is very bleak.

Chris Brumbles

Deer Island

Mayo not bound to special interests, will resist new debt

In a recent opinion piece I pointed out that Margaret Magruder, who is running for county commissioner, had been on the county budget committee for well over 13 years.

I was wrong.

As it turns out Ms. Magruder has been on the budget committee for almost 20 years.

What does this mean? Well, this means not only has Ms. Magruder had plenty of time to help Columbia County get out of debt, as I had previously stated, but it also means she was there and voted for the poor decisions that made Columbia County the most indebted country in the state of Oregon.

Ms. Magruder’s supporters claim she is working hard to get us out of debt and, therefore, we should elect her county commissioner. That idea is ridiculous. It’s like saying we should hire the fox to guard the henhouse because the fox knows how to steal chickens better than anybody else.

I want a county commissioner who is not indebted to special interests, will resist new debt and work hard to get rid of old debt. This is why I am voting for Wayne Mayo and I hope you will do the same.

Brian Rosenthal


Elect Mayo and pay the price

I heard the discussion between Margaret Magruder and her opponent, Wayne Mayo, on KOHI last Friday. Mr. Mayo made an illogical and opportunistic comment that illustrates why he should not be given a position of decision-making for the public. His comment was that, if he were elected, he would do away with all consultants hired by the county and do the work himself to save the county money. Even a general contractor contracts out technically precise or engineering-specific detail work, simply because employing a proven expert saves time and money. The adage, “If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs,” is true, and the taxpayers of Columbia County should not have to pay the price for Mr. Mayo to prove it.

Ann Mathers

St. Helens

Nancy Ward for CRPUD board

A comment was made by a St. Helens resident on KOHI that Nancy Ward did not attend very many CRPUD meetings, but that Debbie Reed attends regularly.

With today’s technology, we do not need to physically attend meetings. We can follow local government and organizations’ meetings through watching the meetings or reading minutes online. This is how most of us, whether we commute daily or work locally, keep informed.

The number of physical audience attendance is not a qualification for a board position. What qualifies a person is knowledge of board protocol, objectivity, integrity and strong communication skills.

Debbie Reed may attend all the CRPUD board meetings, but her public accusations against Mr. Dave Baker, whose position on the PUD board she seeks to gain, shows me that her objectivity and accountability is very much lacking.

Take the time to research online or speak with Nancy Ward to learn why she is running. I find her to be a person with integrity and objectivity, knowledgeable on how a board should function, and willingness to communicate openly. I believe she will act in the best interest for the PUD’s customers and employees and is my choice for the CRPUD board.

Carmen Kulp


Worked with Debbie Reed, supporting her

I’m writing to support the candidacy of Debbie Reed for a board of directors position with Columbia River People’s Utility District. Debbie and I worked together for 20 years in the Portland office of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine. Debbie was my head paralegal in charge of the Telecommunications Practice Group at Davis Wright. She is one of the hardest working people I have ever met.

She always went the extra mile, not only with her paralegal duties, but also taking on organizational and practice management responsibilities far beyond the scope of most paralegals.

She is steadfast and loyal to the core and has always been singularly committed to making whatever organization she is working for not only achieve its goals, but to shine in doing so.

Columbia River PUD would be fortunate to have her as a Board member.

Mark Trinchero


Debbie Reed is my choice

Debbie Reed is the best choice for replacing Dave Baker on the Columbia River People’s Utility District board. Debbie has been attending PUD board meetings since 2014. I know she would work well with the other board members and represent the best interests of PUD customers. Debbie has put in a lot of time and effort to learn about the PUD and she has many years of legal experience as a paralegal and legal secretary. I think she would be a valuable member of the PUD board. If you live in PUD, Subdivision 1, in Scappoose, I hope you will vote for Debbie Reed.

Sherry Welter

St. Helens

A vote in the right direction for PUD

I have lived in Columbia County for over 30 years and retired from Columbia River People’s Utility District after 22 years of service. I attend the board meetings to be kept well-informed. With the upcoming election just around the corner, I would like to endorse the following candidates. I encourage you to vote for Debbie Reed in Subdivision 1 and Rob Mathers in Subdivision 3. Debbie and Rob would continue to move the utility forward in a positive direction. Debbie and Rob are both hard-working and would bring a wealth of experience to the board. They are long-time PUD customers and care deeply about the community. A vote for Debbie Reed in Subdivision 1 and Rob Mathers in Subdivision 3 would be a great addition to the CRPUD board.

Elva Mills


Are we safe in our homes?

This question refers to crime in our cities and of people worried about drive-by shootings or home invasions by rabid interlopers whose sole desire is to make people fearful.

I believe this is not the worst-case scenario. The one that is scariest of all is perpetrated daily on innocent citizens by our local city, county and the state of Oregon officials. I talked with a governor’s aide about an Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) violation. I was told, “the law you are talking about does not carry enough authority to enforce it, so it is not something I need worry about.”

The state and county officials seem to believe they are above the law and so can do whatever they please with us, the taxpayers. On Nov. 13 two years ago, two men employed by Columbia Community Mental Health, knocked on my door at night. I answered the door with my wife and we both told these people to leave our property that they were not welcome in our home.

A violent argument ensued and, by force of intimidation, these two men without warrant invaded our home. Supposedly the Bill of Rights protects us from illegal entry without a court order, but in this case it did not. More alarming was a complaint about this home invasion was sent to their director and, contrary to Oregon law, the director sent the complaint to the two people the complaint was about to resolve the issue.

Oregon law is clear that this is a conflict of interest and no person involved in the complaint is to be used to resolve the complaint.

I got a response from the offender telling me he had permission to enter and he was sorry I disagreed, but there was nothing I could do about it?

Fellow neighbors, it is election time. We need to protect ourselves through our vote power. Officials of state, county and city get complacent and believe they are entitled to do what they want without reprisal. County and state employees think that by virtue of their position, they are protected. The answer to this problem is simple: Vote out all incumbents. If people serve only a minimum term they will not be in office long enough to severely damage the populace.

For background, I am a retired civil service worker. I was employed with the city of Portland and the state of Oregon. I have served my community as a scout leader, adult church group leader and a volunteer firefighter emergency medical technician.

Steven G. Denkers


Rock is not a renewable resource

Not sure how I’ll vote on Measure 5-255, which proposes to increase the depletion fee on mined aggregate gravel by 35 cents per ton in Columbia County.

Mr. Craig Smith (see Letters, “No more taxes,” Oct. 14) calls this tax discriminating and targeted.

Isn’t that true of most taxes? Targeting income, property, etc.?

Multnomah County targets businesses with a 1.25 percent tax. How about taxing selected industry like: tobacco, petroleum (fuel), alcohol — and how about timber? I pay harvest, severance, property and income tax every time I cut a tree. Maybe Mr. Smith wants the aggregate industry to be the only industry not targeted.

Last time I went camping, I paid a hotel tax for camping in my RV.

Gee, were hotels targeted?

At least I can grow more timber. Except for volcanoes, I haven’t seen anyone growing rock lately.

It’s not renewable.

Ray Biggs

Columbia City