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Topics this week range from legislation in Salem to the May election and more.

Rep. Vial: Blueprint is good step for Oregon

The "transportation package" unveiled last night by the leadership of the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization represents a very important step forward for Oregon. After decades of failing to fund basic maintenance and replacement requirements, and nearly 50 years of not addressing growth with additional facilities for freight and commuter demands, the time has come for bold action. By increasing the gas tax for the first time in 23 years, recognizing the changing nature of our vehicle fuel usage, and for the first time really talking about asking those who use the roads more frequently to pay a greater percentage of their cost, we can see a way forward to maintaining and growing our economy and preserving our way of life.

This package combines the best thinking of many stakeholders to not only plan for the immediate future, but to look to the long term programs and policies that will keep Oregon on track for decades to come. By incorporating elements of transparency and accountability for our agencies such as the Oregon Department of Transportation, and encouraging work with local jurisdictions, the package is a virtual revolution in the way we do business.

In the coming days and weeks, the details will become clearer, and there will be many discussions, some difficult regarding the various tax, administrative and project specific aspects of the proposal. There will not be agreement on all matters and undoubtedly there will emerge elements that everyone will struggle with. That said, this process represents a tremendous amount of work and effort on the part of the leadership of the committee, and should be taken seriously and thoughtfully considered.

Rep. Rich Vial

House District 26

(Editor's note: Rep. Vial's district includes Sherwood, King City and Tigard's River Terrace area.)

Bravo to Tigard police for immigration stance

Kudos to Tigard police. At a recent meeting with the Tigard Police Department, we were gratified to learn the TPD supports Oregon's 30-year old law prohibiting the use of state and local resources to enforce federal immigration law if a person's only crime is being in the country illegally. We were also very happy to hear that many of the ACLU's nine model policies for local law enforcement, aimed at preserving civil rights and protecting communities, are in place at the TPD.

TPD's reason for embracing the ACLU's policies and Oregon's 1987 law (ORS 181A.820) is simple: if people don't trust law enforcement, it makes their job of safeguarding our community much harder. When undocumented immigrants fear that reporting a crime will result in deportation, crimes such as domestic abuse, assault and theft go unreported, unsolved, un-prosecuted. This is a problem for all of us, not just the immigrant community.

The Trump administration will likely continue to pressure local police departments to enforce federal immigration laws. We applaud Tigard's new police chief, Kathy McAlpine, and the entire department, for their steadfast support of Oregon law prohibiting such activities and their belief in the value of the ACLU's model policies for local law enforcement.

Denise Stephens,

Roger Potthoff,

Salvador Castaneda


Let knowledge serve city of Tigard

I'm writing to suggest an idea that could increase our community's access to objective knowledge.

For many people, technology is their primary source of knowledge about what's going on in the world. My concern is that the current state of our political affairs has injected doubt into the members of our community about whether the information and facts that are being reported is reliable. How can we assure our community has a reliable source to knowledge?

I'm a student at Willamette University, and am fortunate enough to have a certain access to knowledge. The knowledge I'm being taught is being conveyed to me through a network of expert individuals, not news broadcasters with political and monetary interests. Every day, I get to attend lectures about many issues that are affecting Tigard and cities all across the country. I believe this is the most effective way of learning. The classroom community is an environment in which I feel like I belong and have something to contribute. I can confidently express my uncertainties and get immediate clarification. I can share my opinions with others, and have those opinions challenged respectfully. In the classroom, we all share a common goal. That goal is to reach the truth.

My idea is to advertise a series of publicly funded lectures to Tigard residents. The Tigard Public Library would be the perfect place to host these lectures. Over the summer, we could line up speakers like the mayor, professors and other prominent figures from our area, to give a speech on an important topic of their choice.

I think Tigard would be better off as a community if we pulled everyone together and provide a more reliable and accessible source of knowledge.

Brennan Symes


Talk of 'death tax' is unworthy ruse

I have to admit it sticks in my craw when I see a headline that says "Trump Plans to get Rid of Death Tax." There is no death tax. Anyone with a lot of money is free to bury it with them... jewels, cars, bullion, etc.

What we have in this country are rules to manage the transfer of wealth... selling your house, buildings, businesses, etc. We also recognize that special rules apply to family, and that is why we have inheritance rules.

We, as Americans, believe that family should help family, but we also believe that everyone should have a fair shot at success. We know that too much wealth concentrated in a few hands can create empires, which can destroy opportunities for others. The inheritance laws are meant to honor family but prevent excesses.

There is no such thing as a death tax. Our inheritance rules are not perfect but abolishing them, as Mr. Trump would do, is a recipe for economic tyranny of the wealthy.

Gerritt Rosenthal


Left-leaning media distorts American life

In April, 2015 I was at the Penghu Prison in Penghu, Taiwan, giving a presentation to inmates. My talk was sponsored by Books For Taiwan, a charity that collect used books written in English from libraries in New Jersey and ships them to schools, libraries and prisons in Taiwan. Taiwanese children take English classes, but have limited access to books actually written in English.

At the end of my presentation there was a question-and-answer session. The first inmate asked, "Why do American police always shoot black men?" This man was referring to the police shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri the previous August.

I was taken aback as, here they were, on the other side of the world, and they had been fed, via subtitles, the same false narrative Americans had received. They did not know about the three investigations that had been released exonerating the police officer.

Not wanting to discuss the nuances of American politics, nor the left-leaning bias of American media, because, frankly, my Mandarin vocabulary is lacking, I just stated the results of the investigations.

When traveling in Taiwan, giving presentations and visiting friends, I don't have time nor interest to watch TV. However, when I was there last fall I made a point of looking for news shows from the United States.

In Pingtung, Taiwan, I begged off dinner, staying in the hotel to check out TV news. I found a CNN show akin to CBS's "60 Minutes" wherein there were three "investigative" reports about life in America. One "examined" gun violence in the U.S. without mentioning Chicago. Another showed homelessness without discussing our drug epidemic nor our extensive welfare system. Another dealt with "hate" crimes against minorities, ignoring those against whites.

At the end of the hour-long show, I turned off the TV and went to bed, saying to myself: "I wonder what country they were talking about. Sure glad I don't live there."

Diane L. Gruber

West Linn

Contract Publishing

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