In Wasco County, we are lucky to have committed, dedicated officials and employees at our Clerk’s Office, which oversees elections. Over the past several weeks, I have interacted with county employees as I set up voter registration efforts. I have been impressed and heartened to talk with people who regard helping people register to vote and overcome obstacles to completing and submitting their ballots as an important part of their jobs.
This is what democracy should look like. To me, being able to vote is the foundation of a functioning democracy.
In Oregon, we have a vote-by-mail system. People receive their ballots about two weeks prior to Election Day, which gives them time to consider which candidates they want to vote for in the comfort of their own home and then mail their ballot at a convenient time. No one must take time off from work or stand in the rain waiting at the polls, etc. Since 2019, our ballots are postage-paid, so not having a stamp does not prevent one from voting.
In this 2020 election year, as we deal with one “unprecedented” situation after another — the loss of thousands of lives, livelihoods and homes to a pandemic, to fires and floods — we must pay careful attention to the state of our elections, to our democracy. Making sure everyone in every state who wants to vote can vote without obstacles and making sure all votes are counted accurately is especially important to me this year.
In the 2016 presidential election, 57 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. This means that 43 percent of people eligible to vote did not. Since the votes cast for president were split in half, our current president was elected by just over a quarter of eligible voters. Studies show that among registered voters, being “too busy” or having a conflicting schedule was the third-highest reason cited for not voting, accounting for 14 percent of registered voters who did not cast a vote (about 2.7 million people).
These reasons do not work here in Oregon, where state laws make it so easy to vote.
Ballots will begin showing up in your mailboxes starting Oct.15. Watch for them, consider your choices. Please vote! Our democracy depends on us.
Donald Trump has threatened to challenge any election outcome where he isn’t the winner. We are very afraid. We fear that our American Constitutional Republic is being unraveled. The resulting chaos will affect everyone in ways we cannot begin to imagine.
Our only hope is that everyone will vote in this, the most important presidential election of our lives. Everyone who has a relative affected by COVID-19, every parent facing insecure options for sending their kids to school this year, every young voter who is being cheated out of job and educational opportunities because of the current health and economic crisis, everyone who rejects racism, all of us, must exercise our citizens responsibility to vote. And please encourage your friends and relatives in swing states to vote in a careful and timely manner.
Only if the outcome of the election is decisive can we avoid the chaos that will come from a challenged election.
David Hmiel and Christine Knowles
When Google came to town, no one took them to court about the habitat that was destroyed. But when Walmart wanted to build a store in this town, they took them to court. This town has deprived people who live here jobs that are a must. This town needs to wake up and realize what they are doing. Has anyone drove around town and realized stores have closed, homes are for sale and poor people are desperate for work? Companies want to come here, but can’t. In a nutshell, this town needs to treat all companies the same and allow growth.
When Rep. Dan Bonham’s campaign mailer (entitled “Legislative Update”) arrived in my mailbox last week, I read it with interest as the campaign flyer it obviously was, glad to know what he sees as his successes and visions as the election approaches, as I considered which candidate to support for his seat. Rep. Bonham has been a very good friend to Maupin, and was instrumental in our town being awarded state lottery funds for upgrades of our infrastructure crucial to our community’s economic survival and development. As such, I have been glad in the past to help create local opportunities for voters to get to know him, and have enjoyed and appreciated our interactions.
For these reasons, I was profoundly disappointed to learn that Rep. Bonham’s election-timely flyer had in fact been paid for by taxpayer dollars, and not by his personal campaign funds, despite the fact that it arrived in voter mailboxes 45 days prior to the election.
Such timing conflicts with the intent of the state rules which specify a 60-day blackout period for taxpayer-funded newsletters by those representatives seeking re-election — rules designed precisely to prohibit the kind of thing that Bonham’s mailing effected, which was to smuggle campaign promotion under the guise of a “legislative update,” at taxpayer expense.
Turner for county
Jacob Anderson and the planning department are currently in charge of the broadband access initiative for Klickitat County. However, the messages being sent are confusing. Jacob has stated that an incentive for the Department of Commerce mapping survey is to be eligible for grant funding provided by the Washington State Broadband Office and the USDA. He has also stated that his office is not applying for the grants but is “hopeful” that an Internet service provider will submit a proposal. He also said that the state thinks we have “good broadband coverage” but the mapping results show quite a different story.
The broadband access initiative has been a top priority in the Gorge since 2012 and very little has changed.
Why should Jacob expect ISPs to suddenly submit proposals to Klickitat County on their own when there is little financial incentive to do so?
How does he plan to attract ISP’s without state collaboration to help guide Klickitat County in that process?
Joanna Turner has a different plan that is smart, uses infrastructure we already have and includes state coordination with local creative action. Broadband access is paramount to our under-served county by enabling access to health care, education and economic opportunities. Joanna is ready to bring improved economic vitality to Klickitat County through real action and is not waiting around “hopeful” that something will happen.
Vote for Williams
Every once in a while, an elected representative emerges who exemplifies the highest standards in what we need in a state legislator.
Such a person is Anna Williams, who in her first term as state representative in House District 52 kept citizens in Corbett, Cascade Locks, Hood River County, Government Camp and Sandy well-informed on issues important to our rural and small town communities. Any of you who have attended her town halls — both in person and virtual — know how knowledgeable she is about the issues, responsive to specific questions or comments, and clear about where she stands.
I have found her to be quite responsive to emails, giving detailed explanations of actions she has taken or plans to take; where she disagrees, she gives sound reasons. She has been a welcome source of reliable information on Oregon’s response to COVID-19 and on the recent wildfires. She took quick action on our concerns about armed check-points in the Corbett community. She is one of those rare legislators who views herself appropriately as the representative of all people in District 52, not just those who voted for her. Your vote for Anna Williams is a vote for wisdom, fairness, and wellbeing for all Oregonians.
No to Beutler
We have a president who has shown nothing but contempt and disdain for our state. He intentionally withheld suppling personal protective equipment during the current pandemic. He attempted to withhold funding for our schools and firefighters. He has stated that the COVID-19 deaths in our state are inconsequential because we’re a blue state. This is a president who punishes any person, group or state that doesn’t support or praise him.
Truth be told, Trump will not carry Washington in the upcoming election. If he is re-elected, we can expect the assault on our state to continue.
The primary responsibility of a congressional representative is to advocate for and protect the interests of the citizens of their district. As a Republican, Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler could be very influential at blunting these assaults. An effective leader would stand up for us, but so far: Crickets. Instead, she has used her position to shelter and support Trump.
She has failed us and we deserve better. It’s time to elect someone new.
Miller for Dist. 30
Oregon’s Senate race for District 30 poses a clear choice to the voters: Who’s in the pocket of the corporations, or who stands for healthy people and communities. Take a look at the current Campaign Finance Report for the two candidates running in this race: Carina Miller (Democrat) and Lynn Findley (Republican).
Findlay’s major contributors includes Koch Industries, Weyerhauser Corporation, Oregon Forest Industries Council PAC, Chevon Corporation, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Oregon Farm Bureau PAC, Oregon Fuels Association PAC and Oregon Cattlemans Association. He certainly has his marching orders from the fossil fuel industry, the timber industry and other corporations focused on the preserving the past and the status quo, not focused on the future and the pressing needs of people struggling through an economic recession and COVID-19 pandemic.
Miller’s campaign finance report shows small donations from hundreds of people. Not corporations. She’s an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Miller’s experience and accomplishments stands out, serving as chair of the Native Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon, on the Columbia River Gorge Commission, on the Oregon ACLU Board, and as Energy Committee co-chair for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.
Carina’s legislative platform, spelled out on her web site, focused on Water, Education and the Environment. Findley’s legislative platform is not outlined on his website. Comparing Miller and Findley’s post-secondary education accomplishments: Miller completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon. Findley attended Treasure Valley Community College (no degree listed).
Carina is ready to hit the ground running advocating and legislating for the people, not corporate interests. She’s looking to the future, and is not beholden to the fossil fuel or timber industries.
My vote is with Carina Miller, Democrat for Oregon Senate District 30 this November. She deserves your vote too.
Helfrich for Dist. 52
Oregon desperately needs a balanced legislature for sound governance. Oregon is a diverse state with diverse needs. Priorities differ between rural and urban areas. However, there are common priorities as well, including the health and safety of our people, our land, and our economy.
We have a strong Democrat super-majority in Salem: 38 Democrats and 22 Republicans in the House. This dynamic creates division among Oregonians. We see mediocre legislation adopted because a lack of dialogue exists between parties. Democrats hold the power in nearly all the decisions being made in Salem. Democrat legislators outnumber Republican legislators on every committee and subcommittee. This majority position prohibits sound policy development.
Have you listened to testimony on legislative bills? You will hear legislators submitting amendments to bills to suggest provisions to accommodate constituents. Last session, I listened to testimony and found that nearly every amendment submitted by a Republican legislator was voted against and nearly every amendment submitted by a Democrat legislator was voted in favor. This type of legislation is a tragedy.
One-party rule results in complacency and poor accountability. Many Oregonians out of work due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown have yet to receive unemployment benefits from Oregon’s Employment Department. No one in the majority party is held accountable. This continues because those legislators in power do not feel politically vulnerable.
Oregonians are witnessing the consequence of super-majority rule across our beloved state. Communities are suffering. The division between people is unprecedented. I’m hearing reports of armed vigilantes in Corbett, and likewise threats of Antifa protesters “shaking things up in Hood River.”
A super-majority does not promote unity. A super-majority pits the citizens of Oregon against one another.
Politics needs to be a conversation. True leadership brings communities together.
I’ve always aligned with the Democrat party. After witnessing our current leadership fuel a divide across Oregon, I will vote for a candidate and not simply a party platform. This is an important election. I support HD 52 candidate Jeff Helfrich. He is a leader with a strong bipartisan record. He will bring balance back to Salem and represent all of his community.
Make America reputable again
The rest of the world has been mystified, stunned, demoralized, and above all confused by our country over the last four years. The nation that had the highest reputation as a world leader for “fair play,” honesty, decency, grace, charity, and democratic government had suddenly slipped seismically. The model republic for the free world was no longer in any way admirable or trustworthy.
Other nations quickly learned that our government lacked courtesy, politeness, good manners, civility, respect, consideration, thoughtfulness, tact, and diplomacy.
A recent publication, however, has brightened these days of political expediency, viciousness, and its suffocating moral vacuum. Several major news outlets from both left and right sides of the political spectrum mentioned the following letter, written in long hand by George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton. President Bush, a Republican, wrote it after President Clinton, a Democrat, had won the presidency. It clearly shows a staunch belief in fair play and democracy by Republican Bush. It demonstrates good grace. It is a wonderful example of the “American Way” with an obvious belief in the smooth transition of power from one regime to another, peacefully and honestly.
This letter is simply amazing and is an example to the rest of the world of our true leadership. Where has that all gone now, and why?
The letter reads,
“When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.
“I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some presidents have described.
“There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.
“You will be our president when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.
“Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.
“Good luck — George”
Find the COVID app
Citizens can now download the COVID-19 Reporter app created by Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital and the King’s College of Great Britain at covid.joinzoe.com/us.
Individuals reporting their health status helps public health researchers know how fast the virus is spreading, where the high-risk areas are, who is most at risk, better understand symptoms and links to other health conditions.
The app is free to use, and lets anyone record health information on a daily basis in less than one minute. The app has been widely downloaded in the UK and is one of the most reliable sources tracking the COVID-19 pandemic there.
Hood River County needs about 450 more people (using the app) to be able to estimate infections accurately.
Please pass on the invitation. Accurate information about COVID-19 is as important as masks, hand washing, physical distancing and avoiding indoor crowds.
Repeat Republican Dist. 52 candidate Jeff Helfrich says that before he lost that job in 2018, he “worked on protecting our environment ... I will always put the needs of our community ahead of partisan politics and influence of special interests.”
How does this make sense, when he is so closely allied with Timber Unity, the group that organized log truck protests and Republican walkouts from the last Oregon legislative session?
Carol Russell, treasurer of Friends of Jeff Helfrich, is also secretary of the Timber Unity PAC.
One of the founders of Timber Unity, Freres Timber, and its president, Rob Freres, have given $30,000 to the Evergreen Oregon PAC. Timber companies dominate Evergreen Oregon PAC funding, with $50,000 from the Pape Group (logging equipment), $40,000 from the Seneca Jones Lumber Co., $25,000 from Roseburg Forest Products, and more.
To date, the Evergreen Oregon PAC has supported over $49,000 in advertising for Jeff Helfrich’s campaign.
As the climate warms and the western U.S. endures its worst fire season in history, should we believe that Helfrich is not the pawn of special interests?
Should we believe he has a plan (not on his web site) to address climate change?
Or is he more likely to pull a (Sen.) Chuck Thomsen and boycott any legislation that doesn’t support the same ol’ same ol’?
He says he wants to stop “runaway spending” in Salem. Given his funding base, I doubt that he would support eliminating the $4 million in state money for the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.
A recent expose by ProPublica, OPB and The Oregonian showed that the OFRI, created to educate Oregonians about forestry, has instead worked to squelch research that showed the impact of logging on climate change (bit.ly/2Zj2AXi).
I support re-election of Rep. Anna Williams. She supported HB 2020 (cap and trade) and didn’t shirk her opportunity to address climate change.
On Nov. 3, please vote for Dan Richardson for The Dalles City Council, Seat No. 4.
Dan has many skills that will serve The Dalles well. These include listening, communication, mediation, and leadership skills.
I first met Dan when we were both volunteers on The Dalles Watershed Council. We were on that council for roughly a decade and, during that time, I got to know Dan quite well. As a volunteer, Dan made it a point to prepare for, and attend, our monthly meetings; provide important input to our discussions and subsequent decision-making; and then to participate in the implementation of the actions required by those decisions. Plus, Dan went way beyond the call of duty during his tenure at the Watershed Council. He did this by conducting a detailed, illustrated, stream mapping survey of Mill Creek from the Columbia River out to the City Limits at Ericksen’s Addition.
My lasting memory, from that time with Dan, was seeing his extraordinary facilitation and leadership skills in action, particularly when he ably, and smoothly mediated a directional conflict within the Watershed Council, and brought the group back into agreement and focus, all in the course of an evening meeting.
I have seen very few people in The Dalles exhibiting that level of expertise with group process.
Dan was also a member of the Friends of the Mill Creek Greenway, which helped jumpstart the process of constructing a walking and biking trail along Mill Creek, meant to eventually connect with the Riverfront Trail at the Union Street Underpass. That effort is now under the leadership of the Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District, with a current focus on securing the funding to construct the first trail segment from West 2nd to West 6th Street.
As a resident of Wasco County, but not the city, I’m asking you to vote for the man I know who will help lead our community into a bright future — Dan Richardson.
Learn about SHIBA
A letter on Sept. 23 urged readers to know the difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage. The letter is timely because the Medicare Open Enrollment period begins on Oct. 15. It is a time when Medicare-eligible people can learn more about the differences among original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Supplementary insurance (Medigaps), and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
Medicare doesn’t pay for everything. Most people buy insurance, sometimes in the form of Medicare Advantage plans, to augment their health insurance coverage when they are on Medicare. Most Medicare prescription drug coverage is available only from private insurance companies through contracts with Medicare.
Insurance companies change their plans every year. A plan that suited your needs last year may no longer be the best plan for you next year. Insurance company advertising can be overwhelming.
There is a program called SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) that provides free, impartial assistance understanding Medicare options. Local counselors are available for telephone and, in some cases, in-person counseling with COVID-19 precautions. The local SHIBA phone number is 541 288-8341.
Sue Ann Arguelles
Sue Ann Arguelles is local SHIBA coordinator.
I found Dan Christopher to be the candidate of choice for the District 3 County Commissioner seat after watching the League of Woman’s Voters candidate forum.
Unlike our other county races this fall, this race is made up of two Republican candidates. With COVID-19 still prevalent, this will be our only chance to see first-hand who these candidates are, and what they stand for. I encourage every Democrat voter to go online and watch this candidate forum video for themselves.
There were stark differences between the two Republican candidates in age, health and vision for our county. Mr. Sizemore seemed tired, and looked to be reading from note cards, while Mr. Christopher seemed spry, personable, and spoke directly to the voters. I found that Mr. Sizemore posed no real ideas or solutions to the issues posed to the candidates, while Mr. Christopher on the other hand brought bold ideas and fixes for county issues that I didn’t even know we had.
Their answers to the environmental questions put the icing on the cake for me. Dan Christopher was the hands-down winner.
It’s encouraging to see a fresh-faced Republican candidate that will not only work with, and support democrat ideas, but a Republican that actually believes in some of these same issues. After decades of democrat voters having no voice in our county, it’s nice to see a bipartisan Republican candidate that’s interested in giving our people, and our environment a new voice on our County Commission.
Retain HR Council
As a former Hood River City Council member I spent about 96 meetings or around 290 hours listening and interacting with four of the people running for seats on council: Mayor Kate McBride, incumbents Megan Sanders, Mark Zanmiller and former councilor Susan Johnson. Here are my impressions after spending four years with them:
Kate McBride is a no-nonsense, get-it-done leader who has deep experience with years on the city planning commission and on city council. She does her homework and comes to each meeting well prepared. Kate has consistently shown good judgment and leadership dealing with difficult issues.
Megan Saunders has an amazing ability to delve into the details of an issue or bill and ask very relevant and pointed questions. She is the type of person who makes sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed in a contract. She is also a big picture thinker, an optimist and a great organizer. We have Megan to thank for leading the rebuilding of the Hood River Children’s Park, a truly daunting project.
Mark Zanmiller often comes at decisions with a unique type of critical thinking that helps to expose heretofore unrecognized issues or potential problems with a deal. He can be a contrarian but has a deep compassion and empathy for people as evidenced by his amazing volunteer service over the years helping with Hood River Parks and Recreation and the Christmas Project, among others.
I am friendly with Susan Johnson, she is a very positive person, but she missed a number of council meetings, some of which were excused, and this impacted the council. Incumbent Gladys Rivera, on the other hand, brings both youth and diversity to city leadership, has been doing a great job and deserves re-election.
Please join me in voting to retain our current Hood River mayor and councilors.
Corry for Dist. 14
Please join me in voting for Chris Corry in the upcoming state election.
Chris Corry is a proven leader in our district and is a proponent for getting our economy back on track. Small business has been damaged immensely, and during this time we especially need a leader who will stand up for those who perpetuate our economy running and functioning on a daily basis.
He has shown and proven this by suing the governor for his unconstitutional shutdown of our states economy. He understands that this shutdown has been unwarranted and is doing more damage the longer it is continued to be extended.
Chris is a family man who cares deeply about those beyond his immediate family. As a foster parent, he and his wife Jennica show their selflessness, love and care for those who are in need of opportunities they may not have had otherwise. They are raising little leaders who will one day become our future leaders. He’s someone who doesn’t just talk the talk, but actually walks it out. He stands up for the important and hard issues that arise in our State.
We need more leaders like Chris, and I hope you will join me in supporting him for State Rep Dist. 14 Pos. 1 in November.
Long for Congress
I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. I vote and work to elect good, hard-working, honest people. In 2010, I fought hard to elect Jaime Herrera Beutler. But she’s let southwest Washington down. When I invited her to an event shortly after she was elected into office, she stuck close to her staffer and wouldn’t acknowledge us. She stopped returning my calls and I haven’t seen her since. These days, it seems she only has time for her corporate donors.
It’s time for a change. We need a leader like Carolyn Long, who has shown her commitment to our community through frequent town halls, Coffees with Carolyn, and Cold Ones with Carolyn. Carolyn not only listens to those in our community, but she also understands the needs of our rural communities because she comes from one herself. Southwest Washingtonians need a representative in Congress who will fight for them; that person is Carolyn Long.
Castle Rock, Wash.
On Sept. 2 through Sept. 6, we had done a little mini 30-years anniversary trip, having lived in the same house for 37 years. I came home to my house, where I had a very small sign in my front yard that said Trump and Pence 2020, but when I got home, it was gone. Once a few weeks before that, someone had (thrown it) it in the trash.
I have seen all kinds of stuff. I love my little town and my big country. I have seen many of signs through the years, maybe not always agreeing but always respecting, that is the difference in true Americans.
I believe your property is yours, everyone has a benefit of the doubt and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But now that this is happened, the gloves are off, I am going to put up the biggest sign, one you will be able to see from Hightway 14 to Franklin. If they would’ve just left my little sign alone and respected my opinion, we wouldn’t be doing this. But because some anti-Americans don’t believe in other peoples’ opinions makes me even stronger and madder. The way I see it is, let the best man for the job win, for I still live in a free country and I plan to keep it that way! Thank you for the time and remember I will stand and defend my property.
I’ve seen a few letters that blame the Labor Day forest fires on global warming, which according to the popular “anthropogenic global warming” hypothesis is caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide said to be responsible for the increase of earth’s average temperature since the mid-1800s.
Rather than take on the AGW hypothesis itself, I’d direct readers to the work of University of Washington Prof. Cliff Mass, this region’s preeminent meteorological authority. He is easily found by means of an Internet search. Mass is a believer in the AGW hypothesis, but recently debunked the idea that global warming caused the fires. His explanation is that the fires were — like all big western-slope forest fires in our region — triggered by strong east winds, and aided in their destructive reach by long-term forest mismanagement.
One aspect that has received little attention, that 90 percent of the big forest fires of the past 30 or 40 years have occurred in federally-owned timber. Those forests have been left mostly unmanaged since the early 1990s, when the Clinton administration radically reduced the salvaging of dead trees, the clearing of understory, the use of controlled burns, and the maintenance of fire breaks.
Here in the Gorge, in the past 10 years the two major fires — one on Mount Adams and the other at Eagle Creek — occurred in public forests. Logging of private forests is a significant activity here, and there have been few if any fires of significant size. Why? Because the owners use time-honored management techniques. If global warming were causing the fires, why would there be such a wide disparity? I suggest that people look past their belief in the global warming hypothesis and examine meteorological and forestry science and experience. After all, aren’t we constantly being told to look at the science and deploy logic?
We should also look at history. Another leading authority, Bob Zybach, an Oregon State University environmental sciences Pd.D. who has spent his academic career studying Oregon forest fires back to the 1600s, began warning in 1994 that the major, misguided policy changes under Clinton would lead to major conflagrations. No one listened to him, and not a whole lot of people want to listen now. Too many people cling bitterly to their undocumented faith.
Any other Republican
The following are reasons why Republicans should insist on another candidate:
1) While running for president, former KKK leader David Duke endorsed Trump and Trump did not condemn him.
2) In 2017, the current Republican nominee for president referred to white nationalists at the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., as “very fine people.”
3) In 2018, he reportedly asked why the U.S. accepts immigrants from “sh*thole countries” in Africa.
4) In 2019, the same nominee told four congresswomen of color to go back to the “crime infested places from which they came.”
5) In June, the Republican who will be on the ballot retweeted a video where an apparent supporter is heard screaming “white power.”
6) Now, the potential next president seems to have given a nod to the Proud Boys.
Come on, there has to be another Republican who can represent the citizens of United States. Anyone else will be better.
Richardson for council
It is a great pleasure to write a letter in support of Dan Richardson for The Dalles City Council. Dan is an ideal candidate because he enters the race as a long-time The Dalles resident who professionally has been assisting landowners with natural resource challenges for the past decade.
Dan has a gift for working with folks and helping to solve problems. He loves bringing people together to hear and learn from others.
Dan is the opposite of politicians who believe that they are effective by raising their voice the loudest. Dan is instead quiet, reflective and a great listener.
He is first and foremost community minded and will be an outstanding new member to the City Council. Please consider casting your vote for Dan Richardson.
Helfrich for House
Voters in House District 52 have a rematch on the ballot this year with the election between Anna Williams and Jeff Helfrich.
In 2018, Williams narrowly defeated Helfrich to become our State Rep. But this year, there is one very important difference over the contest two years ago: Williams now has a record.
And what does her record tell us about her? We know that 95 percent of the time she voted with her extremist Portland-based colleagues in the legislature. She voted with them to try to impose a California-styled Cap and Trade bill that would have cost all of us big bucks at the pump and in heating/cooling costs for our homes.
In 2016 Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected the Gross Receipts Tax because it would have been an expensive tax on all sales. But Anna joined with her Portland pals in Salem to pass a new Commercial Activities Tax that will take billions out of the private sector. It also functions as a tax on sales, not profits, so businesses who shut down due to COVID-19 still had to pay the tax on their sales the first quarter, even though they had no cash flow due to the shutdown.
And just for good measure, Anna also voted for higher fees for kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Taxing kayaks and paddle boards while you represent our Gorge? Really?
Yes, Anna now has a record to judge her by. And that’s why I’m voting for Jeff Helfrich. He understands that it’s time for the state to live within its means, just like we have to do with our personal budgets, especially during these challenging times.
I want a State Rep who shares House District 52 values.
Reboot, not rebut
I watched about 50 minutes of the first presidential debate. Over the next 24 hours, I heard the media opining the type of discourse which they have helped perpetuate. (Sigh.)
I believe both candidates gave us what they thought we wanted. One had decided that his supporters expected him to continue to display his disdain for decorum. The other had been coached to defend aggressively, showing his supporters and the undecideds that he was not weak. The result was a mess. We should not have been surprised.
As voters, we can’t do much about how the candidates from the two major political parties, vying for the highest office in the land, conduct themselves in public discourse. As individual citizens, however, we can refuse to mimic their “modeling.” We can refuse to be programmed to instantly rebut the arguments of those who disagree with us.
Instead, we can force ourselves to first listen, in order to really understand the reason the other person holds to their position. There are truths on both sides of almost every disagreement, and a path toward uniting — rather than further dividing — is to openly consider both truths. Listening, and expecting the same in return, can lead to constructive conversation rather than argument.
So let’s reboot rather than rebut. A more civil public discourse is not going to be initiated by our national leaders any time soon. But we can choose a more productive path.
The presidential debate reminded me of the Simon & Garfunkel song The Sound of Silence. The lyrics, “People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening ...” describe our current condition. We can change it.
That’s my America
My uncle fought fascism in World War II, and returned home a patriot, and understandably for the times, holding very racist convictions. It was a no-brainer to rally against a threat to “our” Democracy from without, where “the enemy” looks and talks different from “us.” It took all the sacrifice,suffering and heartbreak we could bear to protect our country and the world from totalitarian dictatorship.
Now again we are called upon to protect ourselves and the world from the threat of fascism — but this time it is embedded within the fabric of our nation. This fascism wraps itself in super-patriotic flags and exhortations, and proceeds to dismantle government institutions like the post office, and what my uncle was defending in the Pacific front, the right and ability for citizens to vote.
Hannah Arendt has described totalitarianism. It hates diversity; it bullies and tells lies. It has a military that stomps out dissent and persecutes those not “chosen.” Whether fascism succeeds this time depends on whether the police-military will bully their neighbors and families into submission; or whether they will recognize that we as a nation are still struggling to meet our patriotic commitment to One Nation, under God (mine too!) with equal rights to Life, Liberty, Opportunity, and Justice for all. Will our police and military protect dissenting citizens? Or will they protect the heavily armed and potentially violent white supremacists wrapped in the flag and touting “law and order?”
During a Black Lives Matter rally in a Gorge town this summer, the local police stood up to prevent the leering, flag-flying, unmasked white counter-protesters from intimidating and breathing on the diverse,masked, and vocal protesters who — ironically — were demanding an end to police brutality! Now, that’s my police — local, fair, and just. And that’s my America.