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Hillsboro needs to be given a plan for schools

Fellow citizens of Hillsboro, I need your help.

The legislative session is over, and despite increased funding for education, Hillsboro schools will fall short $6.5 million. Next year, 28 positions and five school days will be cut.

At the same time, the city is doing quite well. Manufacturing in Washington County grew 12.2 percent last year, mostly due to high tech growth in Hillsboro. A big reason is the Strategic Investment Program, the $50 million annual property tax break we give to big high tech companies. As part of that program, the state reimburses the city and county half of the income taxes paid by certain high tech employees.

Here’s the problem. This money, called Gain Share, doesn’t go to the Hillsboro School District even though the schools gave up a chunk of their property taxes just like the city and county did. It has resulted in a serious imbalance: the city is building stadiums while the school district cuts school days.

You can help correct this situation. Hillsboro will receive $10 million in Gain Share funds, and the city doesn’t even have any plans to spend these funds. I want you to give them a plan.

Write the mayor a letter or attend a city council meeting. Ask city leaders to spend $5 million of the Gain Share funds on Hillsboro schools. The next council meeting is Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center auditorium at 150 E. Main Street.

I asked the mayor personally about using Gain Share money for schools. He refused, saying, “You are asking me to do something we have never done before.” Yes! That’s exactly it.

Clearly, we need more voices to get this point across. Will you help? Make a difference for schools. Encourage the city to do something it has never done before.

Anne Riley


Driver cards law should be repealed

In May, the Oregon Legislature and Gov. John Kitzhaber passed a law, Senate Bill 833, granting “driver cards” to illegal immigrants.

Oregon voters, however — right from their home computers — can help keep that law from taking effect.

A group of Oregonians operating as “Protect Oregon Driver Licenses” is working to put a referendum onto the November 2014 statewide ballot that would give voters a chance to annul the driver-card law. To do so, the group needs to collect 58,142 signatures of registered voters this summer.

Why should Oregonians sign the referendum petition? Because illegal immigrant driver cards would: a) undermine the rule of law; b) better enable illegal immigrants to take and keep jobs from Oregonians; and c) aid and abet the drug cartels that rely heavily on illegal immigrants to transport their products.

Moreover, notes Oregon state Rep. Sal Esquivel — one of the referendum effort’s chief sponsors — the driver-card law “was rammed through the Legislature so quickly that most Oregonians barely got the chance to scrutinize it and weigh in with their opinions.” The referendum, he says, aims to “provide for a sustained and informative public debate, and include rank-and-file Oregonians directly in the decision-making process.”

Getting your petition is easy. Go to www.ProtectOregonDL.org, print a single-signature petition sheet, sign it, and mail it to the listed address. By doing so, you can help repeal “driver cards” for illegal immigrants.

Richard F. LaMountain

Cedar Mill