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Letters: Transit service, billboard fracas

In the wake of the release of the Cascade Policy Institute Study recommending cities and counties leave the Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District (TriMet), I stand firm with the ideal that Clackamas County should create its own study to develop its own transit authority.

In 2011, I led the Boring Oregon Business Coalition through a process to withdraw the Boring area from TriMet. The businesses in Boring were giving TriMet over $600,000 a year in payroll taxes, and TriMet’s own staff admitted that Boring was getting service valued at almost half that amount.

The service was poor, and the ridership was dismal, because of the poor service.

With a countywide program, buses can be provided where they are needed and wanted, and the subsequent service known as Dial-A-Ride in several communities can be expanded and provided countywide. The Dial-A-Ride concept will give our seniors and the handicapped more flexibility and will ensure safe transportation to and from the doctor’s office or the grocery store.

Clackamas County has several cities providing their own transit services, and the county can glean data and information from these operations.

Furthermore, it may be possible that combining some of these transit services may provide additional cost savings to the taxpayers while giving additional services to those who rely on public transportation.

For these reasons, a Clackamas County study would be the smartest thing we as a county could do.

Steve Bates

Candidate for Clackamas County commissioner

Editor's note: TriMet issued the following written statement:

"TriMet is a critical public service to this region where 320,000 times a day someone boards a bus or train. We have been very open about the need to realign our cost structure to be in line with the market. The greatest cost driver for us is our active and retiree health benefits.

"The Cascade Policy Institute is a libertarian think tank opposed to light rail, and as such, their arguments are in part based on that opposition. Their recommendation to opt-out of the district would seriously impact the mobility and economic vitality of this entire region.

"On a side note, any withdrawals from TriMet must meet certain standards established by the Oregon Legislature under state law.

History books still being written

Les Poole of Gladstone offers that my thinking and writing are biased.

One of the definitions of "bias" is to cut across the grain. Based on that definition he's correct. I do have a problem with "longtime student[s] of history" who at 55 mph will drive by an attack billboard, declare it to be a "simple powerful message" and demonstrate no curiosity as to who's paying for it and what is their agenda. Les Poole writes that I fail to objectively reach conclusions and then pens this about the Affordable Care Act, "President Obama, Governor John Kitzhaber, Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressman Kurt Schrader blindly supported the law." This is an objectively arrived at conclusion? Les Poole writes that President Obama's efforts to stimulate the economy "were empty rhetoric." There will be taxpayers reporting gains of up to 25 percent on their investments this year. Oh, that we could suffer such "empty rhetoric" every year.

My interests in history, political science and sociology have led to three walks across college commencement stages. That said, it was in the freshman 101 classes I learned that students of history first put forward a statement or proposition, do their research and then draw conclusions based on their research. But history is not like math where 2+2 will always be 4. History lies on a continuum — the conclusions of history are not cast in concrete. Does anyone believe that the last book on the assassination of President Kennedy has been written? A conclusion of history is forever open to support or criticism.

Les Poole writes that "[my] use of the 'race card' to discredit the billboard was flawed." We have an American president who for six years hasn't had his full administrative team on board because Congress won't confirm his nominees. We have federal courts wanting for judges because the Congress won't confirm President Obama's nominees.

I have put forward a statement/proposition for research that this isn't politics as usual. Other possible causes include the fact that the nation is seriously polarized along conservative and progressive lines. We are evolving away from a three-class society to a two-class society of "haves and have-nots." Is there not an impact on politics when our youth graduate from college with debts and limited occupational opportunities?

Do I want racism to be another element in determining what is happening to President Obama? No! Do I think it must be? Yes! An opinion "flawed"? Time and history, not Les Poole or D. Kent Lloyd, will determine if racism has reared its ugly head in politics again.

D. Kent Lloyd

Gladstone



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