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Letters published April 29, 2016

FILE IMAGE - Letters to the editor for April 29, 2016

An argument in favor of CC Rider

I have some very special (and personal) reasons for supporting the creation of a countywide transportation district. I am not getting any younger and I know that there will come a time that I will be unable to drive a car. Our county does not have any taxi service and without public transportation, I would have to depend upon friends and relatives to be able to go shopping, go to the doctor or run any errands.

Three and a half years ago, the county commissioners cut CC Rider's budget by 64 percent. In order to make up the difference, CC Rider had to cut service and increase fares. The existing transportation service has had to depend upon fairs and grants in order to survive. Most grants require matching money, and last year, people of this county lost more than a quarter of a million dollars because CC Rider didn't have enough money to supply a match for outside grants.

Measure 5-251 will cost 23 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value. A $200,000 home will cost a person $46 a year. Including tip, a dinner at a moderate restaurant probably will cost more than this. A study for the American Transportation Association shows that "Every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic activity." Public transportation is an essential part of our county's infrastructure. When you invest in public transportation, you invest in our county's future. Please vote yes for Measure 5-251

Bill Eagle

St. Helens

Preheim, Tardif have the facts and good ideas

Are you ready for another political opinion? I really enjoy giving mine.

I’ve heard about the terrible rush hour bottleneck in Scappoose and finally experienced it firsthand on Tuesday. It took me nearly 15 minutes to travel from the first stoplight through the last one located at the Fred Meyer turnoff.

My point in giving you this trivial bit of information is that I received a phone call from a person last week who told me that a bypass is going to be built around Scappoose to alleviate this slow traffic.

What a great idea! I cannot conceive why it was not done when the highway was widened years ago. So, this person who called also told me I must not say a word to anyone because this project is supposed to be hush-hush.

I don’t like keeping anything hush-hush.

This is where I come to my main point: What possible reason would the state and Scappoose have for keeping this information from the public?

Why hide from us what they plan on doing with the money they collect from us? We do have a voice that matters.

It appears honesty and transparency are the two main themes in the upcoming election and they should be. Why is it is so terribly hard to understand what those two words mean? The voters are not stupid and yet continually we have important decisions hidden from us. I am really sick of this attitude from the people we elect to public office.

Executive meetings, contractual obligations be damned.

We have a right to know. There are only two people running for county commissioner positions who will provide this openness and finally put an end to the “good old boy” system stagnating our county: Brady Preheim and Alex Tardif. We most assuredly can do better.

I attended a forum in Vernonia on Monday evening. All candidates running for the county commissioner seats — Position 1 and 3 — were in attendance, with the exception of Susan Conn, who once again had a previous engagement, and Wayne Mayo.

The three candidates vying for Position 1 who were available for discussion were Brady Preheim, Margaret Magruder and Joel Yarbor.

I enjoy a good laugh and I appreciate someone who can laugh at themselves. However, I do not appreciate a candidate who uses these ploys to cover their lack of information on any subject. Magruder should spend more time familiarizing herself with the actual problems in the county so that she is able to make a decision and announce what that decision would be. Yabor insists he supports CC Rider and yet several times declared his objection to more taxes for this purpose. He then made it quite clear that the depletion fee from gravel companies would not be enforced to fund CC Rider if he were elected. His ideas on how to support this transportation system were not forthcoming.

Brady Preheim, as always, had facts and figures and was not reluctant to share those facts with the people. He corrected those who were in error, including the incumbent commissioner. He is forthright and well spoken.

Please trust me in this: if you elect him, he will provide the transparency and honesty we so badly need and deserve. He is not a career politician. Vote for Brady Preheim for Position 1.

Alex Tardif and Tony Hyde were in attendance at the forum, running for Position 3. Tardif is highly motivated, well informed and, most importantly, an accountant.

Tony Hyde used the same plea as in the past — that he be retained in office until the “fruition” of “his dreams.”

He has waited 20 years for his “fruition” and Columbia County has only gone downhill. It is time for him to pass on the mantle.

Help him do so. Vote for Alex Tardif for Position 3.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

Keeping it simple with Hyde

Tony Hyde has proven 20 years of history properly managing our county. “Keep it simple” ... Tony Hyde for Columbia County commissioner, Position 3. Proud Columbia County resident.

Mike Pihl


Just say ‘NO!’

As an accountant for Department of Human Services, I used to prepare cost analysis at the end of each fiscal period showing exact bed cost for both a psychiatric hospital and a training center (developmental disabled clients).

Columbia County built a new jail twice as big as it needed and without an operating budget; yet, at local meetings, neither the county commissioners nor sheriff would or could answer a question for exact per-bed cost for the jail and an exact rental cost paid by the U.S. Marshals Service.

The county commissioners formed a special tax district to build a hospital without getting an exemption from the 30-mile rule from my bosses at DHS; thus resulted the bilking of millions of dollars that somehow vanished into thin air.

And, for the last 13-plus years, Columbia County has operated a transit system which has failed to generate adequate ridership (1 percent) and business sponsorship (less than 5 percent); yet, now wants to form another special tax district for failing business venture.

The Port of St. Helens have purchased nearly all useable commercial property in the county mandating that new industries lease property from them rather than purchase and develop their own work sites, which to some is more feasible. The port has spent millions in developing Port Westward for ventures that never seem to pan out; ethanol, coal, Bakken oil, and now methanol, all associated with the dirty fossil fuel industry which residents in the Portland metropolitan region detest.

Two weeks after putting an offer on a house in Columbia City, the residents voted down a police levy for the second time, yet on the evening after I completed repairs and before I could move in, the mayor proposed to throw out both election results and put the police levy on the ballot for a third time.

Being that Columbia City has no school district, fire department, bank, restaurant or motel, I voiced my concern over the lack of diversity and size of the city’s tax base. Now, five years later, the city has built a dog park, a veteran’s memorial and has plans to develop Trestle Beach and a hiking trail along McBride Creek, all which uses up precious money, material and labor without producing any tax revenue to pay for things like a police department.

As a disabled veteran who has only received two cost of living allowance increases in the last nine years, I am getting disgusted with constant requests for more and more property taxes, with less and less cooperation and transparency from public officials. The Columbia County Assessor’s Office is currently reviewing homes in Columbia City in which residents will not know their taxable value until the middle of October, yet there are tax issues on the May ballot.

How about this: vote no on any ballot measures that increase property taxes, voting against anyone who has already served two or more terms in office, voting against any new parks that do not generate any taxable revenue. No, nada, zilch, nien!

Joseph Turner

Columbia City

Back in the Oregon election saddle

This May will be the first time I will be able to vote in Oregon in many years. I returned to St. Helens from Washington over a year ago and I am looking forward to voting in my hometown.

I most definitely will vote for Alex Tardif for Columbia County commissioner, Position 3.

Tardif will bring new life and new ideas into a tired county race. I believe him when he states that if you can’t get a job done in four years, or even eight years, you are not going to get it done, and it’s time to move on.

I was unpleasantly surprised to find that the incumbent Position 3 commissioner has been in office for nearly 20 years. And yet, I return to the county, 25 years later, to find there are fewer business, many fewer jobs, and the county is nearly out of money and cannot even support the local jail without taxing the citizens.

Wow. Why have you kept him in office?

Tardif is a business and accounting graduate. How can you not vote for him?

He will be able and willing to work to get the county out from under the financial burden which has accrued during the tenure of the present commissioners.

I believe new people and new ideas will make a difference in the future of our county.

Please vote for Alex Tardif.

Kelly Harmon

St. Helens

We need to retain Hyde

It has been my privilege to know and work with Tony Hyde since February 1996. I have seen Tony interacting with crisis managers, bureaucrats, elected officials and ordinary citizens. He has shown himself to be smart and fair-minded in the handling of the day-to-day county business. Further, Tony’s can-do attitude has naturally led him to create a deep engagement with state and federal officials. This hard work and foresight has benefitted all of the citizens of Columbia County in the form of increased state and federal investment in Columbia County.

Tony is one of Oregon’s leaders in pressuring federal land holding agencies to pay a fair share contribution to local governments, like Columbia County, in compensation for costs associated with these federal lands.

To be successful, a county commissioner must be hard-working, pragmatic, resourceful, knowledgeable, articulate and fair.

Tony has all of these attributes.

Great public servants become better with each passing year. This is particularly true of Tony Hyde. We need to retain him for county commissioner for four more years.

Jim Tierney


Give me two Rs for reform

As a lifelong resident, business owner, property owner and community volunteer, I feel this upcoming commissioners’ race is one of the most pivotal that we’ve had in over 12 years.

During economic decline, businesses and, certainly, manufacturers do not consider relocating their business. The risk of an uncertain economic climate makes the potential investment too risky.

Our normal business cycle is full of peaks and valleys of expanding and declining economies. Coming off a nearly 10-year low, we could experience 24 to 36 months of steady growth before it contracts. We need to take advantage of that window of opportunity and elect county commissioners who are focused and have the drive to do what it takes to attract new business into our county.

Even though this is a non-partisan race, we have two Republicans who can make the difference. The last time we had two Republicans on the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, it was these two Republicans, and they accomplished a great deal, streamlining county services, the permitting processes, adding family-wage jobs and retail jobs.

I think it is time to bring our commuters back home and put our county back to work. I am voting for Tony Hyde, Position 3, and Joel Yarbor, Position 1, for county commissioner.

I feel this team is what this county needs at this time. Opportunity is knocking.

Keith Forsythe

Deer Island

Conn has experience, supports transparency

In the upcoming primary election I am supporting Susan Conn for Columbia County commissioner, Position 1.

Susan has an extensive history in community involvement in the county. She has served in various positions, including the St. Helens School Board, the Columbia County Commission on Children and Families and is currently a member of the St. Helens City Council. Her experience with these entities has provided her with the experience needed in working with Oregon Public Records Law and providing the transparency that citizens should expect from their elected leaders through collaboration with them. She works hard at understanding all sides of an issue.

Susan also understands the challenges of owning and operating a small business and the need for the development of long-term family-wage jobs while maintaining the quality of life we have come to expect in Columbia County.

If you are looking for a candidate with experience, who believes in collaboration and transparency, then please join me in supporting Susan for county commissioner.

Casey Wheeler

Columbia City

Conn is my choice

I would like to add my voice and ask everyone to please vote for Susan Conn for the Board of County Commissioners of Columbia County, Position 1.

I met Susan in 1994 and throughout the years have admired her great dedication to our community. I have served on committees with her and she has always had the interest of the individuals that live in our community, and she works endlessly to find solutions. She is easily accessible, personable and truly wants to make our county the envy and an example for the rest of Oregon, and she does this by working with grassroots groups, government entities, small businesses, all different age groups, educational facilities, nonprofit organizations and anyone or group that wants or needs help to build a better community.

Susan attends every happening event that is possible for her, which keeps her informed and helps her understand what is needed throughout our county. She then tries to find

beneficial solutions to solve the issue.

Susan takes her time to share this information by way of social media and emails, texting, or by whatever means is needed. She is an excellent marketing representative for our county and, through this avenue, she is able to communicate with everyone at their level. Susan’s campaign is not one of a career politician and she is running a campaign on a pauper’s funding budget, therefore, you do not see large signs or brochures reminding you to vote for her. So I am asking you to please remember to elect and connect Susan Conn for county commissioner, Position 1.

Susan Ziglinski

Columbia City

Tops among those who are competent

There are three capable, competent candidates for county commissioner, Position 1: Ms. Susan Conn, Ms. Margaret Magruder, and Mr. Joel Yarbor.

My vote will be going to Susan Conn.

Susan Conn is completely committed to the future of Columbia County. And she listens. She has been actively engaged in many positive aspects of what makes our county a great place to live. She is currently on the St. Helens City Council, and has been active in many organizations and committees that has kept her fingers on the pulse of our beautiful county.

Susan is approachable. And again, one of her most positive qualities is that she listens.

Please join me in supporting Susan Conn for county commissioner, Position 1.

Ellen Lager


Compelled to vote for Tardif

I feel compelled to write and voice my support for County Commissioner candidate, Alex Tardif.

Coming up on 30 years old and having spent a majority of my life in the area, I continue to grow genuinely concerned about the lack of new leadership. I would love to see someone bring new, fresh ideas and be involved in making important decisions about the future for my generation, in this county. It’s time my generation

had a voice in local government.

I am so happy to have a candidate like Alex Tardif. Born and raised in Scappoose, he was a very active and involved student athlete, then went on to work his way through college. I’ve heard his ideas, seen his work ethic and I know he understands the importance of this elected position.

I firmly believe that Alex Tardif is the best choice for this role. I will be casting my vote for Alex and I encourage all young members of our great community to consider the opportunity they have to do so.

Shaun T. Stewart


Supporting Tony Hyde

The main reason I am strongly supporting Tony Hyde for re-election as Columbia County Commissioner is because he has done a superior job on the Board for several years.

With all the debacles in Washington D.C. there is a popular movement to “throw them all out” at election time. But in this case our government officials on the state and local level do not fall into this group of villains.

These are local folks who live in our little community and who interact with us on a daily basis. You will often see them at ACE Hardware, at Safeway or at Sunshine Pizza - just regular folks.

Tony has distinguished himself as a steady hand on the Board of Commissioners and he brings a unique perspective since he understands the timber industry which is still a very large factor in Columbia County.

Tony’s vast knowledge of the history of the County, his business and political contacts within and outside the County, and his political acumen are invaluable resources that we cannot afford to lose.

Please review Tony’s list of goals and his record of Service in your Voters’ Pamphlet and I believe you will be inclined to vote to re-elect him for Columbia County Commissioner, Position 3.

Robert J. Braud

St. Helens

Conn is hard-working, reliable

The ballots are now out for the county commissioner seat being vacated by the well-liked Earl Fisher. There are many running for this position and some of them have gotten quite vitriolic. Among the more pleasant is Susan Conn, who has worked for many years to keep Columbia County a good place to live and raise our

kids within a prosperous and livable environment. She is caring, hard-working and re-liable.

Our votes are for Susan Conn.

Mike and Maddy Sheehan