Letters to St. Helens Update
the opinions of Bill Eagle, or that of his wife, children,
Letters to the Update are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect mother, father, sisters , brothers, domestic pets etc..
From: Nancy Whitney 1/25/21
So, what do you think about the St. Helens City Council deciding to build a new 22,000 square foot police department building - to house 16 police officers?
From: Bill Eagle 1/25/21
I listened to the Inauguration. I loved seeing (and listening) to Lady Ga Ga sing the National Anthem… She sung it great and she was so very good.
I shed a tear when I heard Jennifer Lopez sing a medley of America and Woody Guthrie’s “This is your land;” It was wonderful.
Garth Brooks sang and asked us to sing Amazing Grace with him.
Above all, I was in awe listening to Joe Biden’s wonderful speech. He sounded the way a President should sound and he filled us all with hope and the belief that things will be better and America will again be the America that we learned about in school; A county that promised liberty and equal justice for all.
It was a great historic day and a wonderful and historic speech.
It’s good to have hope again and it’s good to see a mature adult in charge of our nation instead of an angry mad man.
From: Rosemary Lohrke 1/14/21
I was saddened by the newspaper account of the violent encounter between two St. Helens police officers and Ashley Andrews. Occurrences like this undermine trust and foster resentments between the general public and law enforcement. I can't imagine a "rest of the story" that would justify police actions in this case.
Neither can I accept that the officers involved are representative of local law enforcement. I think back on my relatively recent contacts with law enforcement, and I saw genuine concern and a willingness to help. I felt fortunate to live where law enforcement is generally dedicated to being a positive part of the community.
In this world of distrust and upheaval, we all need to work together to keep things going in the right direction.
From: Scott Phoenix 1/8/21
Sen. Kim Thatcher, I note that you are among 12 Republican members of the Oregon Legislature who had contacted Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to join in the efforts by the Texas attorney general to overturn the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
One assumes by this action that you and these fellow Republicans will gladly support challenges by other states to legislative matters of our own state. If you answer to this is no, then you owe an explanation to all the people in Oregon about why you chose to urge our state to join in this frivolous lawsuit whose purpose, whether acknowledged or not, was to meddle in the affairs of other states.
Until quite recently, that is not what any Republic would consider a legitimate action. In fact, such behavior until recently has been viewed as anathema to what responsible government is about.
The terse rejection of this suit by the Supreme Court, whose nine members include three Trump appointees, ought to be writing on the wall that this suit had no legal reason for existence
From: Stacy Mendoza St. Helens School District 1/1/21
The message below has been sent to all district families.
Last week Governor Brown announced that the reopening school metrics are shifting from mandatory to advisory. The good news in the announcement is that we will have more local control over when we are able to open schools to in-person instruction and to what extent. The Governor has urged schools to re-open to in-person instruction by mid-February. Over the next couple of weeks the St. Helens School District, in consultation with County Public Health, will determine the best timeline for reopening to in-person instruction while keeping our students and community safe. We will continue to keep our families updated
From: Bill Eagle 12-29-20
The year 2020 should, by now, be a thing of the past. I was told by a friend that a year should be like a fine wine. This may be so, but I suspect that 2020 was more like a colonoscopy prep. It was an election year, a pandemic year, a year of unemployment and a year of doubt.
I try to walk daily. My goal is to exercise for at least 40 minutes each day. I use a cell phone app that tells me my speed, my distance and maps my route. During my walk I greet other people who are walking. Some are there by themselves, others are exercising their animals. I see die hard political signs that have not yet been removed. Some political flags, that I suspect are there because some people don’t trust our last election, but mostly I get to see other people and visit with them.
Today, I ran into an old acquaintance who was also walking. While I stopped to chat, I fastened my face mask.
My friend laughed at me “Are you really that paranoid? You carry a face mask when you walk?”
I answered: “I’m wearing a mask to protect you as well as myself. Last time I looked at the Oregon Health authority web page thirteen Columbia County people have died as a result of the Coronavirus.”
My friend countered “These people all had underlying conditions. Hospitals want to say people died of Covid, that way they can qualify for more money.”
I shook my head. “Ain’t so; according to the Oregon Health Authority, you are repeating an unsubstantiated rumor. Fact Check Org also says that this isn’t so ( FacCheck.org https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/hospital-payments-and-the-covid-19-death-count/).
No one is being incentivized to inflate Covid figures. It anything, these figures are under reported.”
My friend smirked “I heard different and I believe what I hear on TV. Besides, it was reported that they all had underlying conditions.”
I replied. “Sure, people who get heart attacks also die of underlying conditions… Lack of oxygen to their brains. What doctor would take the chance to get his or her license revoked by making a false statement on a death certificate? Not only can they get their license revoked, they might even have to do jail time. Similarly, hospitals could lose their accreditation if they make false claims. This Corona Virus is a nasty bug, it is lots worse than a case of the flue. The virus attacks your bodies organs. It attacks your heart, your lungs, your liver. Even people who appear asymptomatic can experience damage to their body systems. Some studies seem to indicate that it can cause loss of libido and erectile dysfunction in men.”
My friend laughed. “You are so full of BS.”
“No, I’m not. I’m not making any of this up. You have a computer look it up yourself.”
My friend replied” You can find anything you want on the Internet. That still does not make it so.”
“True, you can. I do know one thing. I will continue to wear and use a face mask. I also plan to get inoculated as soon as vaccinations are available.”
My friend shook his head. “I ain’t gonna get no vaccinations. You can’t pay me to get one.“
I looked at my friend. “You are a religious person, and a loving Christian. My guess is that you must be on the fast track to see Jesus. Personally, I would rather postpone my meeting with the Lord.”
We parted and I continued on my walk.
My hope is that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. We now have approved vaccines, a new government, and new hope. I hope that we can look forward to a champaign year and not another colonoscopy prep.
From: Rep. Brad Witt 12-21-20
It is a busy time as we approach the holidays, but we received some great news from Washington, D.C., as Congress approved $900 billion dollars in much needed Coronavirus relief. The package includes $284 billion for another round of small business aid through the Payroll Protection Program, $300-per-week federal unemployment boost for 11 weeks, $600 stimulus checks for those making up to $75,000, more money for schools and hospitals and an extension of an eviction moratorium.
No one wants to exacerbate the housing crisis and put thousands of Oregonians out of their homes in the middle of winter, and that is why I joined other Oregon lawmakers on Monday to approve House Bill 4401 which extends the eviction moratorium and creates a $200 million fund to support small landlords and tenants. Landlords can apply to the new landlord compensation fund, and receive money to cover some missed rental payments. However, they are required to forgive 20% of their tenants’ past-due rent. While 80% repayment is helpful, it seems unlikely that landlords can maintain financial stability while giving up one-fifth of their income for an extended period of time. That’s why I believe we need to make support for landlords a priority as we move forward in our efforts to provide relief for pandemic-related impacts.
We also approved HB 4402 to provide limited liability for schools, administrators and teachers that follow the pandemic-related directives and best practices. The education of our children is vitally important, and for many that can best be accomplished in-person. But at the same time we need to safeguard the health of our students, faculty and staff members until the Coronavirus is under control.
Senate Bill 1801 will allow cocktails-to-go which should provide another funding stream for independent restaurant owners who are struggling to keep their doors open during these trying times.
Finally, the Legislature approved $600 million for additional COVID-19 and Wildfire recovery. This money will be distributed by the Legislative Emergency Board in the coming weeks.
In what the media has labelled an anti-shutdown protest by the far right, various militia followers, conspiracy ideologues, and Patriot Prayer adherents stormed our State Capitol during Monday’s Legislative Special Session. Several of the protestors brandished firearms while others wore body armor, gas masks or helmets and pepper-sprayed Oregon State Police Troopers who were trying to maintain order. I support the right of assembly and lawful protests, but it stretches the imagination to think that people who don protective gear, and arm themselves with firearms, metal pipes, pepper spray and other chemical weapons are attending a demonstration with good intentions. As a result of the unlawful assembly four people were arrested and another person is being sought on various charges.
In the coming weeks, I will be working with other lawmakers, community leaders and constituents to prepare for the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session. Even when I’m not in Salem, I’m still working on issues that impact our lives. We check our messages daily, so if you have a comment, concern or need help with a state issue or agency, please contact my office. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading my newsletter, stay safe.
From Richard Botteri 12-19-20
On Dec. 14, 2020, President Donald Trump terminated William Barr as United States attorney general, although the administration will end in only five weeks. Barr's firing is instructive.
If one sell's his or her soul to the devil, at least the devil shows some loyalty in return by providing temporary world riches or acclaim before it is time for Satan to claim his due. See Matthew 4:1-11.
Barr, however, sold his soul to Trump. Trump shows no loyalty or gratitude to Barr for humiliating himself defending the president. A couple examples: falsely characterizing the Mueller report before it was made public so Trump could claim "no collusion" even though a later reading showed the report contained evidence of circumstances that raised fair suspicions of collusion. Then, Barr tried to get the court to dismiss the Flynn prosecution after Flynn had pleaded guilty twice, to the open disgust of the federal judge to whom Barr had the Justice Department make the application.
Trump, however, dismissed Barr because Barr could not do the impossible: proclaim the election fraudulent.
Neither God nor Lucifer demand the impossible. Only Trump does. That is the lesson in Barr's demise for Trump's supporters.
From: Chris Robertson (CEO, Cascade Resilience LLC) 12/12/20
There can be no argument that natural disasters caused by climate change are becoming more destructive and more frequent. They are also more disruptive for families and communities. Extended power and communication outages caused by these disasters increase risk, as do disruptions to critical infrastructure like roads and bridges.
These events are not going away. It is in all of our interests, at every level of community, that we prepare ourselves for these disasters. For example, here in Oregon, my company is working on neighborhood earthquake resilience, focusing on energy and communications. So we are familiar with disaster planning, and the vital role it plays in keeping communities safe when bad things happen. Flooding is a prime example where planning and investment can protect lives and property.
We support federal legislation, like the recently introduced Flood Resiliency and Taxpayer Savings Act, that will ensure that federal government, as it builds and rebuilds critical infrastructure, plans for future natural disaster risks. This bipartisan bill requires federal investments in flood-prone areas to be more resilient to future risks, such as sea-level rise and flooding. Without action, tens of thousands of federally funded assets, such as water utilities, roads and bridges, hospitals and schools remain vulnerable to the vicious cycle of flooding resulting in mounting costs to rebuild.
Research shows that every dollar spent on exceeding current building codes to better withstand flooding can save society between $5 and $7 on average. In addition to reduced damages, these investments have been shown to create jobs, support faster economic recovery following disasters, and reduce the potential of exacerbating hardships communities may already be facing.
This historic hurricane season shows us we cannot sit idly by in the face of more powerful natural disasters. This bill is a good step forward.
From: Hazen Hyland 12/6/20
To Kate Brown and the decision-makers in Oregon,
You are killing businesses and jobs, including my business.
In April/May, Oregon "shut down" to avoid overcrowding hospitals, which never happened. Now, we can't go to work because there are too many cases. The narrative has conveniently changed.
COVID-19 is serious, but how serious? Serious enough to cost big and small businesses shutting down permanently, people losing their jobs permanently, kids losing touch with life and social skills, families breaking up due to divorce or mental health challenges (because of lost jobs/wages)? No, it's not.
And for the record, this list is endless.
Fewer businesses and fewer jobs means less revenue for the state or Oregon as well, which means fewer jobs for government workers.
The number of cases was always going to increase when the weather turned this fall, because people stay inside, which is the main contributing factor to how COVID-19 spreads. People aren't hosting mass parties, for I see people being reasonable with their actions and interactions, both inside and outside of buildings.
Having faith in people is what government officials should be stressing right now, not forcing a economic and social shutdown.
We all know that this upcoming 14-day shutdown is going to last much longer, probably through Christmas or even in January or February 2021. This is the last thing Oregonians need.
Seven hundred sixty-two Oregonians have died because of COVID, but virtually all of these people were elderly and had multiple pre-existing conditions that contributed to a weak immune system, unable to fend off COVID-19. [Ed.: Since this letter was received, 64 more deaths in Oregon from COVID-19 were reported as of Tuesday morning, Nov. 24.] If you're concerned about COVID-19, then take precaution, but our governor shouldn't take away our livelihood to earn money to buy groceries, to pay our electric bill, or buy Christmas presents for kids this December, or to donate to just causes this holiday season.
Four million Oregonians are struggling vs. a few thousand who have COVID-19 and few hundred elderly have/may die. It's sad when people die, regardless of cause, but even sadder when an entire state dies.
From; Josette Hugo 11/20/20
First of all, I would like to thank all of the poll workers who endured the pressures of this cycle's election process.
Who knew that many of these workers, who have been counting votes for decades, would be considered suspect. There is a "communist under every bed" mentality in our country today, that has not been prevalent since the '50s. I hope you all realize how much we appreciate your endurance and your dedication to our electoral system.
I'd also like to thank Wes Drumheller for clarifying exactly what socialism is and that it is not communism. Think England compared to Russia as examples of those differing economic systems. As I have listened to many who conflate the two, and even insist that America is one of them, I can't help but think that our high school civics classes need to add a chapter to their curricula.
From: Dean Ebert 11/13/20
I had always wondered what I'd do as a parent in a time of a pandemic to stay safe.
The biggest pandemics in my youth were measles, mumps, chickenpox and polio. In the '50s is when mankind came up with a vaccine for polio. This vaccine was given out in a sugar cube.
Our family would get the forever-lasting, yearly outbreaks of measles, mumps, chickenpox. Those were my specialties.
In 1945, that December, I stayed in doors out of sunlight so not to lose my eyesight. Being deathly sick, I was bathed daily in a cold bath of calamine lotion and fed twice daily a cocktail of sulfur, castor oil, and molasses.
Not until about 1953-55 is when most of these vaccine came into play, time of polio. It took about 30 some years for a reliable vaccine.
Now after writing down my experiences, this got me thinking. This C-19 pandemic is a type of flu. [Ed.: COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which is not a flu virus. The symptoms of COVID-19 can closely resemble those of the flu, although some people with COVID-19 experience unusual and sometimes severe complications.] Wow, the relationship to the vaccine could be a long time coming, as for the polio.
Well the biggest thing I see is, doing the mask wearing. Even those you still see that nose sleeve wipe. You know, the mask goes up and the sleeve gives the wipe. It's to keep their mask clean. I had always thought most folks should be masking up to keep their voices air clean. (That saying, "Hi there," with their garlic breath, a mask would help).
We should have always had the rule to mask up. If so, we'd have less time given to research for the vaccine. "Now that's a thought!"
Of course, washing of hands can be taught. As our hands wipe: nose, eyes, and the persistence of brushing long hair out of the face; perhaps a hair barrette, or washing one's hair and hands more often.
I'm still wondering, what about today's world without vaccinations — thinking my past 80 years may not have happened.
Well, it's just my thoughts.
From: H. Weston Drumheller 11/9/20
Socialism is when the state controls the means of production. That is, owns the factories and such where people work.
America is nothing like a socialist state at all. We are a democratic republic of states with a capitalist economy. No one wants to change that. Not even Bernie Sanders, who I’ll admit made a grave marketing error in deciding to call himself a Democratic Socialist, opening the door for all uneducated alarmists to align him and anyone with the term “social” in their make-up, as communists — which is, again, totally different from socialism.
Equating taxes that would allow everyone in the country to have health care, higher education, and housing to socialism is bunk. We pay taxes for schools, libraries, police departments, fire departments, roads, airports ports and the military. If taxes are socialist, then the U.S. military is the largest and most expensive socialist organization in the world. And everyone seems to have been fine with that since the middle of the last century.
Get a clue people. Look up the definitions of words once in a while. Stop buying into the propaganda.
From: Talk Nazi 11/1/20
Praise the Lord for our fearless Fuhrer Donald Trump. His pussy grabbing is an honorable act and meaningful to the women he has massaged with his glorious hands and fingers. Our glorious leader County Commissioner Margret Magruder has carried on this scared action to the local level and we can be thankful for her attention that she displays to her colleague. Her glorious hands cupped the buttocks of fellow commissioner Tardif, how wonderful and thankful he must have felt to be groped by another Fuhrer.
The pond slime of the county will never experience this glorious experience, nor should they. They do not deserve being groped by the sacred one. Keep our Beloved County and country clean of the inbred and simple minded pond slime which lives off the goodness of our Fuhrer’s. God Bless Our Fuhrer’s Donald Trump, and Margret Magruder making America Feel Good Again. God Bless The Mother Country.
From: Sarah Kotkin 10/22/20
As a parent in Columbia County, I look to a candidate’s platform on children, schools, and childcare as vitally important when deciding how I will vote in local elections. This election cycle, I have been dismayed that there has been little discussion from most candidates about our children. Brandee Dudzic is the only candidate that I have seen with an actual, substantial plan to invest in our youth.
It is important to me that I am being represented in government by someone who understands the challenges faced by parents today, especially during this time of COVID. Brandee is a mother of three children ranging in age from elementary school to college. I know that her own experiences and challenges as a working mother will be a driving force when it comes to making policy that affects working families. She is endorsed by the Oregon Working Families Party for this reason.
It is essential to the prosperity of our county that our families and children have safe and stable housing. Brandee will address our homelessness crisis by advocating for the creation of a youth drop-in center and present solutions for affordable housing.
Please join me in voting for Brandee Dudzic for Columbia County Commissioner, Position 1.
From: Stephanie Klepel 10/14/20
My Response to "Tammy's Take" article of 9/30/20.
I was a member of the County Parks Advisory Board from Roughly 2010 - 2018. (Give or take). During my tenure on the Advisory Board, we worked with compassion, and diligence to be good Stewards of our County Parks. We negotiated (along with the County Commissioners and Betsy Johnson) with the Oregon State Department of State Lands, to receive a lease on the Dibblee Point property located adjacent to the Teevin Brothers property for a County Park.
We proposed a 3 phase project, which included a fish cleaning station, and overnight camping, as well as a Day use permit, to offset these costs, so our county taxpayers were not on the Hook for additional taxation.
Oregon Equestrian Trails, a trail riding group, which is a very large group in the state of Oregon, worked both as advisory board members, and volunteers for numerous projects involving our county parks. They donated funds continuously, to help offset park improvements. County Parks could not have survived without them.
As advisory board members, we identified the revenue collected from each park, the Capitol outlay for improvements for each park, so we could best serve our county taxpayers, and users of our parks. This took considerable time and effort on the part of advisory board members, but we took our responsibility seriously.
We had a Senior Park Maintenance worker, who day in end day out did exceptional work taking care of our parks. SHE did everything from Soup to Nuts so to speak, had years of experience. We relied on her for advise regarding each park, because we found that we could trust her, both in experience and knowledge of each county park.
When Casey Garrett was made Director of County parks, it immediately became clear that he had no regard for the Advisory Board, or our suggestions. At his direction, accounting was no longer park specific. We had no idea where the revenue was coming from or what park it was being applied to. When we asked for an accurate accounting, we were told “NO, County Park Revenue was being put into general maintenance and not left in the County Park Fund”. So, in effect, revenue received from Camp Wilkerson could be used to buy a new Toilet for the Courthouse.
The Park Maintenance persons job duties were relegated to "Cleaning Toilets", as Casey declared in a Parks Advisory Board Meeting. I have witnessed firsthand his disdain for Women, his disdain for suggestions, from anyone other than himself. He is not a team player, rather a My way or the highway, type of Director. Members of the Parks advisory Board resigned soon after witnessing his utter contempt for the Advisory Board.
In my Opinion, Casey Garrett has no business running a County Department let alone a County. He is a "Yes Man" to the County Commissioners until Their backs are turned. He has shown his lack of respect and regard for the Taxpayers of Columbia County in my Opinion. Cleaning Toilets, is just where he should have stayed.
From: Nancy Whitney 10/12/20
I first met Alex Tardif over four years ago - before he was Columbia County Commissioner Alex Tardif. I was totally impressed by Tardif at that time and am even more impressed with the four years he has served our county.
From: Tammy M. 10/12/20
How come Margret Magruder has gotten away with groping her fellow commissioner? And she made the comment --o well-- its ok because of his sexual orientation. She is shameful and should be sued and removed from office. And this is the pillars of our community. God help us!
From: Ed Whitney 10/12/20
I do not write my opinion very often but I believe I need to do so now. I was reading through the Voters Pamphlet we received last week.
From: Richard Ellmyer 10/5/20
Oregon Republican Sec. of State, Bev Clarno, and Republican candidate for S.O.S., Kim Thatcher, and their fellow elected Oregon Republican Trump Collaborators*1 are all committed to vote for Donald Trump in Nov. 2020.
This means that Clarno, Thatcher and the rest of the Oregon Republican Trump Collaborators*1 not only accept but support:
A. Russian interference aidingTrump in our Oregon and American elections.
B. Trump’s refusal to provide his tax returns because they would, and now have, exposed his living the lifestyle of a billionaire while paying NO Federal Income TAXES in 11 of 18 years between 2000 and 2017, paid only $750 in 2016 and 2017 and owes hundreds of millions of dollars making him a national security threat.*2
C. Trump’s lawsuit currently in the Supreme Court to Repeal the Affordable Care Act which would immediately deny health care to more than twenty million Americans, including many Oregonians, and revoke a congressional mandate to protect citizens from being denied affordable health insurance because of a preexisting condition, which includes being a woman.*3
D. Trump’s callously deliberate mishandling of the Corona Virus Pandemic which has lead to the unnecessary deaths of more than 200,000 Americans, including many Oregonians.
E. Politicizing and thereby destroying public trust in the science based Center For Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration for his own political gain in the midst of a pandemic.
F. The disgraceful, dishonorable and dishonest behavior of Attorney General William Barr and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
G. Total disregard for Truth, Facts, and Science.
H. A grossly hypocritical, ruthless and precedent shattering rushed Supreme Court appointment certain to overturn established law protecting a woman’s right to control her own reproductive choices.*3
I. Racism as an acceptable American value.
J. Immoral, incompetent and barbaric treatment of innocent, blameless children by locking them in cages and separating them from their crimeless parents then often being unable to later unite them.
K. Any political or legal action that perpetuates minority/Republican rule in perpetuity.
L. Every other act of Donald Trump over the past four years which has endangered democracy and the rule of law in Oregon and America.
Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and William Barr have changed the rules of the game. They, along with support from their Republican Collaborators*1, have unequivocally and undeniably established a new political order in which the only rule is for those who have political power to use it to their maximum advantage and against their opponents to the fullest extent possible. Norms, bipartisanship and the notion of the common good are no longer part of the political lexicon. The exercise of raw political power is the only remaining value.
When the Democrats take control of the Presidency, the Senate and the House they will have no choice but to:
A. Grant Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood.
B. Declare North and South Dakota conjoined as a single state, Dakota.
C. Eliminate the Electoral College.
D. Eliminate the Senate Filibuster.
E. Eliminate lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.
F. Diminish Supreme Court Sovereignty and elevate Citizen Sovereignty in the House of Representatives.
G. Support federal, state and local civil and criminal prosecutions against Donald Trump, his businesses, his family, his friends, his staffs, his associates and anyone in his orbit that warrants legal accountability for their actions as would any ordinary citizen who acted in a similar fashion.*2
There is a deafening silence of Oregon Republican Sec. of State, Bev Clarno, Republican candidate for S.O.S., Kim Thatcher, and all their fellow elected Oregon Republican Trump Collaborators*1 in their refusal to shout out that Donald Trump lies about VBM, vote-by-mail. Trump’s malicious rantings about VBM are not just appalling and wrong but dangerous to our Oregon and our American democracy.
Voting Is NOT Enough. Your HEALTH CARE And Our Democracy Are On The Line. Your Activism Is REQUIRED.
Stay away from crowds especially indoors. Wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Stay safe. Keep others safe.
From: April Helton 9/28/20
I support Brandee Dudzic for County Commissioner.
Brandee doesn’t water down her stance to get money or votes. People may agree or disagree with her position, but you know where she stands, you can take her at her word.
The same is not true of Magruder. Magruder takes money from Global Partners. Why would a Massachusetts Fortune 500 company like Global give a commissioner money? In the last election Magruder led people to believe she would not support oil by rail through our towns. County residents gave Magruder donations believing this to be true.
During the same campaign Magruder accepted donations from Global, the company behind the push for the oil by rail, and the rezoning of our farmland. Once elected, Magruder voted in Global’s best interests with every vote.
I want a commissioner I can trust. I don’t want a commissioner who takes money from both “sides." I don’t want a commissioner who puts the interests of corporate oil against the interests of the local farmer.
We can disagree about the advantages/disadvantages of the rezone and fossil fuel trains running through the county, but I think we can all agree you don’t take campaign money in good faith from your local constituents, then take money from a Fortune 500 company and claim to have “misspoken” when asked why you didn’t follow through with your earlier position.
Brandee Dudzic has pledged not to take money from corporations, which means she is not beholden to them, only to us. Integrity.
From: Ann Morton 9/22/20
The world has lost a treasure in the person, life, and contributions of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
She lived her life in true service to this country, as well as to her family and friends.
She exhibited tremendous courage in her fights for those that needed her help – all those suffering discrimination or mistreatment of any kind, racial, sexual, religious, and socioeconomic. She never allowed differences to get in the way of friendships, i.e. her close friendship with Justice Scalia.
There was no problem or disappointment too big for her to overcome. Her wisdom, courage, and strength, both in her life, illness and career were amazing. An example for all of us. She was fearless and deeply committed to the interpretations of the Constitution that provided equality and justice for all. She once said she “would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” And she did.
She was greatly loved and admired and will be deeply missed.
Goodbye Ruth Bader Ginsburg. You will not be forgotten, and I, personally, would love to nominate you for the Nobel Prize.
From: Nancy Abell 9/15/20
It is with great dismay that I heard of the suggested plan of allowing OHV rallies to be held at Camp Wilkerson.
I am adamantly opposed to such a plan. There are very few equestrian-safe locations remaining in our area. Oregon Equestrian Trails, of which I am a member, has spent many, many hours and a significant amount of funds over the past twenty years developing and maintain Camp Wilkerson’s equestrian trails.
Those beautiful and peaceful trails will not be able to be returned to their present state once motorized traffic is allowed. Anyone who lives in this area can see how trails are affected by wheels – the deep ruts left cannot be returned to their natural state without repeated filling (as dirt settles again and again). Once narrow, pristine trails are widened for race use they can’t be “unwidened,” either.
Once two-wheeled races are allowed at Wilkerson, it will be a bell that can’t be un-rung. People will bring their motorcycles there spontaneously on non-official weekends. Who do you expect to police the trails for unauthorized use?
The beauty of Wilkerson is absolutely irreplaceable for the many horseback riders, hikers, horse and non-horse campers and dog-walkers who use it presently. Greed must not be allowed to ruin one of our natural outdoor wonders. Camp Wilkerson’s trails must remain untouched by motorized vehicles.
From: Bill Eagle 9/5/20
A sign on Highway 30 caught my attention. It said in big red letters “Fire Brad Witt”
I was a bit shocked and surprised to see the sign. I have always appreciated Representative Witt and have never had a problem reaching him or people on his staff.
I have been and still am “Glad that we have Brad.” He has been there when people needed him.
Right now, he is working with the Oregon Employment Division to correct their failure to get people needed checks. He is a strong advocate for health care and has worked to protect and improve our Oregon Health plan. He is a sports man, outdoorsman, angler, hunter and reloader. and an advocate for animals, wild and domestic. He worked hard to stop the illegal trade in shark fins.
Brad is a genuine person who supports timber workers, hunters, and the needs of the majority of all Oregonians.
I have always believed that you don’t fix something that isn’t broken. Brad is far from broken; he is active and working hard in Salem for all of us.
His opponents may have signs up to fire him, but you don’t fire a man who works as hard for us as he does.
I’m “glad that we have Brad.” I hope you are as well
From: Stacy Mendoza 9/1/20
Good Afternoon - The message below will be sent to all SHSD families this afternoon.
St. Helens School District Families,
All St. Helens School District staff are back to work and are preparing for a great 2020-2021 school year! We are currently just a few weeks away from the first day of classes for students. Normally, this would be the start of staff, parents, and students preparing to return to the brick and mortar school building however, this year is anything but normal.
All SHSD students will begin this year fully online; whether that be through their neighborhood school or through the St. Helens Virtual Academy. At this time, our students will be online through the end of the quarter, which is on November 17. From now until then, SHSD staff will continue to closely monitor the guidance given by the Governor and local and state health officials to see when staff and students are able to return to buildings safely.
Over the next few weeks, parents/guardians will be receiving information specific to their student(s), including teacher assignments and class schedules. Even though SHSD students completed last year online, what they experience this fall will be vastly different. There will be more structure within the classes, daily attendance will be taken, and grades will be given. We know the Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) model is not the same as in-person instruction; however, it is the best system allowable to provide our students with a safe and healthy learning environment for all.
St. Helens School District staff are in training this week to help prepare for the upcoming school year. Next week, staff will be reaching out to families to establish a connection and find out about any additional supports that your student(s) may need. The following week, classes will begin for all students.
We will continue to keep you updated as information is available.
From: Wayne Mayo 8/24/20
The UK Daily Mail reported 23 August that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham revealed on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” stating newly released documents show the "ultimate double standard” exercised by the FBI in treatment of the Clinton Vs. Trump campaigns.
Facts now in evidence show that Clinton was clearly advised of a foreign country’s interest in influence through donations and other means so she could protect herself.
No such clear warning was offered to Trump. In fact, the suspicion dubbed “insurance policy, crossfire hurricane” was used to get FISA clearance to spy on the inner workings of the Trump campaign morphing into a 3-year probe (which ultimately used up more headline ink than Watergate).
For related background, during the 2012 election the IRS crippled fund-raising efforts of Patriot-Tea Party groups by slow walking their requests for 501-c status. The IRS was found guilty and fined $5million.
Former head of the IRS Lois Lerner who repeatedly took the 5th during sworn testimony was allowed to retire with full benefits.
FBI partisans like “agent in charge” Peter Strzok could expect similar nonthreatening treatment should he be caught weaponizing the FBI.
The FBI’s “Ultimate Double Standard” was interference far more outrageous than the expected election day initiatives of foreign governments.
Where are the indictments?
From: Brad Witt 8/13/20
The Second Special Session called by Governor Brown to deal with the coronavirus-caused revenue shortfall, was completed in a one-day marathon effort.
The Oregon Constitution requires legislators to approve a balanced budget, and so that was our top priority this week, as it is unlikely that Oregon will receive additional pandemic-related stimulus federal funds.
Fortunately, we have healthy reserves, so instead of having to cut nearly $1.2 billion dollars, we were able to draw $400 million from the education reserve fund to keep our K-12 public school funding intact. We also tapped $200 million from funds set up to help pay down our PERS deficit.
The budget bills we approved will reduce general fund spending by $362 million, with the most reductions coming from human services programs. Earlier this summer, there were proposals to close the Correctional Facilities at North Bend and Lakeview, but budget writers cited the importance of maintaining those facilities that provide living-wage jobs in their rural areas and removed those institutions from the cut list.
Unemployment claim assistance
While our primary focus was budgetary, we also passed two Senate Bills aimed at helping Oregonians who have been waiting weeks and months for their Unemployment Insurance benefits.
Raises the cap on how much a worker can earn before their earning affect their Unemployment Insurance benefit amount. Currently the cap is tied to either ten times the minimum wage, or a third of the individual’s total benefit amount. The benefit is lowered dollar for dollar for money earned over the cap. SB 1701 raises the cap to a flat $300.
Allows the Department of Revenue to share income-related information with the Employment department to expedite confirmation of income and benefits determinations for those who qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. PUA payments are for those who are self-employed, do gig work, are contractors who have lost their jobs and wages but do not typically qualify for unemployment benefits.
I was happy to support these bills that will help the thousands of workers who have been struggling to get the unemployment benefits they have earned and are due.
Another policy issue we took up during the day-long Second Special Session is the issue of limiting police use of deadly force and barring most usage of chokeholds. This measure easily passed the House floor vote, with bi-partisan agreement that the change is meant to increase professionalism in law enforcement and to bring Oregon up to the standards reflected in U.S Supreme Court rulings from the 1980s.
The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions required that the Capitol remains closed to the public, but I believe we missed the opportunity to do more to allow public participation.
The budget is balanced, and the one-day Second Special Session has been described as “whirlwind” but legislators are elected to do the work of our constituents and public access and testimony, even when done remotely, is an important tenet of our democracy.
Even when the Legislature is not in session, my staff and I are working to help constituents from HD 31. If you need help or have an issue of concern, please contact my office, we monitor the email and phone daily, and look forward to hearing from you.
Rep. Brad Witt serves House District 31. He may be reached at:
• Email: Rep.BradWitt@oregonlegislature.gov
From: Nancy Whitney 8/10/20
Are you kidding me?
From Bill Eagle 12/21/11
I wanted to drop a note to all of you and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. The way it look, I may be spending Christmas Eve in the Hospital. I am going in Friday Afternoon for an Angioplasty. No big deal, but I do have a blockage in the lower part of my heart.
I feel very fortunate that the doctor decided that I should have a Thallium Stress Test and it showed the existence of a blockage. They may be able to open the blocked artery with a balloon or it may require a metal stint. No matter what, they will fix me up and I will be as good or better than new in a couple of days. Please keep sending me your barbs and letters, and your Top 10’s if you have them.
Important things are happening in St. Helens. The City Council will be choosing a Council person to replace Phil Barlow on Wednesday January 4th. I have my favorites, but my wish is that who ever the City chooses that this person will be the best person ever for the job.
Merry Christmas to you and Happy Holidays to all..
From Bill Eagle 12/26/11
My Cardiologist performed a Coronary angiogram on me, followed by a balloon angioplasty and placement of a drug-coated stent in my left anterior descending coronary artery. I stayed a night in the hospital and then they cut me loose the next day.
Things appear to be going well for me and I should be able to start my exercises Friday.
I hope that things are all fixed, and that I can get back to doing my stuff. They are still having me carry Nitro with me. I am not sure why they seem to think that I will need it. They just said, “Keep it close, just in case.” I plan to follow the doctors orders, and I plan to stay well.
I had a wonderful Christmas, my family came over and my son brought food with him and cooked Christmas dinner for us all. We exchanged presents. I had a very warm feeling and I felt very thankful. I do believe that this was my very best Christmas ever.
Let me wish you all a very happy New Year and I hope that for all of you that it too will be “the very best one ever.”