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Police chief speaks out

It is said that one of the greatest things about our country is the free press. The press has the right to publish far and wide news about current events and to publicize and raise questions or suspicions of wrongdoing by public officials. Without thinking too hard about it, I’ve always agreed with that. After all, I grew up in the period right after Watergate so it has seemed bedrock to me that investigative journalists are to be revered, and maybe even serve as a fourth check on government.

Of course, another great principal in our country is the idea that people are not hastily judged and condemned after hearing part of a story. This goes back even before the United States Constitution’s due process protections. John 7:24 (says), “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

I’ve always felt that this was maybe even better understood in a place like Scappoose, where attention is less distracted and people are more in tune with core values.

Now, why am I writing? You have recently published articles and editorials about me that on the surface raise questions about my actions as police chief. By request, I have not made any comment so that investigators can proceed with interference. But, in this fast-paced Internet rush-to-conclusions age, I don’t want people to think that my silence means that I agree with what has been previously reported about me — I don’t. At this time and in this letter, I will not go into detail in the news why that is the case. But, I will say this: I welcome a full investigation under the closest scrutiny. Already, I have fully cooperated with everything asked of me (including not going into specifics in the newspaper). I have nothing to hide, and I welcome the truth.

I look forward to completion of the investigation, I look forward to complete and total vindication and I look forward to continuing to serve the city of Scappoose as its chief of police. Thank you.

Doug Greisen

Scappoose

[Editors note: We welcome calls for corrections in our news coverage. If we have reported a factual inaccuracy, please let us know so that we can publish a correction.]

Even longtime residents capable of ‘cowardly’ actions

I have only been in Scappoose just under three years now. I have been constantly amazed at the stark dichotomy of my experiences with the city.

I have found staffers like City Manager Jon Hanken and City Planner Brian Varricchione extremely talented, knowledgeable, helpful and ethical, and more importantly, have always made best efforts to put the city’s interest at the forefront. This is doubly notable because neither of them are even Scappoose residents (which is common among people in these positions).

What is disappointing is the longtime residents of Scappoose who serve on the council have shown themselves to be mere shells of the staff that serves them. They have been nothing short of cowardly in their actions, and despite their roots in the city, do not seem to be forward thinking enough to get out of their own way.

This is an atrocity of local government. I’ll be looking forward to funding the campaigns of their opponents in future elections.

Craig Marquardo

Scappoose

Our elected officialsare not listening to us

According to Commissioner Earl Fisher, an open meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25, at the Columbia County Fairgrounds Pavilion to discuss the failure of the levy to support the jail.

According to another commissioner, Tony Hyde, only “stakeholders” will be allowed to speak. Stakeholders, as defined in the American Heritage College Dictionary, 4th edition, (probably 30 years old) means “one who holds the bets in a game or contest.”

When checking this word in the 2013 version of the Oxford University Press, there is no definition available.

Perhaps Commissioner Hyde intended to say “shareholders,” which is

defined in the same Oxford University Press as “an owner of a share or shares in a company.”

Now, what gets my attention in this particular matter is that the county commissioners have declared the “stakeholders/shareholders” only include the courts, district attorneys, police and the city councils.

I absolutely object to these limitations.

A large majority of the people voted against the jail levy. This should mean to the commissioners and the sheriff that they did not put an acceptable levy before the voters.

Why can they not listen to the people who voted this levy down? There are good, sound reasons why this happened. And yet here we go again. The people who voted against this last levy will not be allowed to say why they did so.

I assume the fairground pavilion was chosen because it will hold a lot of people. If the commissioners want a lot of people to come, why will they not listen to them — because they know what the people are going to say and they just do not want to hear it? It is happening throughout my county - nobody “in charge” is listening to the people.

They do not hear us say we do not want coal trains. They do not hear us say we do not want crude oil trains. They are just not listening to those who put them in office.

This behavior must end. I am a taxpayer and I am a “stakeholder/shareholder” in this county. I don’t want to move, as Port Commissioner Colleen DeShazer suggested we should if we don’t like it here. I don’t want to be considered a burden as was stated by Commissioner Hyde because people cost more than does industry. This is my county and this is your county, and I want it to be clean and honest, and that just is not happening.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

The real threat to North Korea is truth and reality

I’m going to tell you a story so bizarre that to repeat it is to open the door to darkness most of us don’t believe exists. The South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reports that on Nov. 3, 2013, 80 North Koreans were publicly executed in stadiums in seven cities before tens of thousands summoned and required to watch, including children. Among the charges against the condemned; watching outside DVDs, using the Internet, possessing a cellphone that could be used internationally, pedaling porn, owning a Bible.

The communist North Korean regime cannot abide any challenge to the presumption of leadership assumed by the Kim family and the corresponding godlessness required in the hearts and minds of 24 million.

We in the West should do more than wonder why owning a book of ancient script dating back 2,000 to 3,000 years is punishable by firing squad. After all, the Bible doesn’t teach rebellion, lying, cheating, raping and pillaging, theft or any other threat to civil order.

People known internationally for offering charity, orphanages, medical help, schools, clean wells, hospice and other similar endeavors aren’t the threat. Reality and truth is the threat.

Encourage your senators and congressmen to continue pressure on the Kim regime to relax and set their people free.

Wayne Mayo

Scappoose

The Constitution is the agency of the people

Some people love big government so much that they would make passionate love to it if such a thing were physically possible. Such people are known by the word: statist.

After reading the criticism by Mr. Garrett Lines of Mr. Ray Biggs in the readers’ letters of last week, I would now suspect that Mr. Lines may have revealed himself to be a statist as well.

Now, what was Mr. Biggs’ crime according to Mr. Lines? It appears to be that Mr. Biggs has had the audacity to have an opinion with regard to the Second Amendment without having demonstrated due and proper submissiveness to the constitutional role of the court system.

A true statist has everything backwards. The statist believes that human beings are the agents of the state and not the other way around. Therefore, when a court pronounces a verdict we must not only always slavishly obey it, we must come to like it as well. After all, as I have often heard, it is “the law of the land.”

So, when remembering those who “unconstitutionally” continued to hide runaway slaves in defiance of Chief Justice Robert Taney’s 1857 decision to uphold the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, we can now believe that Mr. Lines would be in the forefront of those condemning the slave hiders.

Let me state this historical paradox as clearly as possible: the slave hiders were disobeying the law — in order to uphold the Constitution.

St. Augustine was a philosopher who I do not like in general, but who said one particular thing that I like very much. He said, “An unjust law is no law at all.” Our Constitution must first and foremost be a document of justice, regardless of the temporary rulings of courts, politicians and bureaucrats.

Sadly, our Constitution today is a remnant of its former glory. The first 10 amendments (aka the Bill of Rights) and the Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery were the only amendments serving the cause of justice. The Fourteenth Amendment was flawed because it did not extend the Bill of Rights to bind state governments. Nearly all the other amendments served to erode the promise of justice in the original Constitution.

Mr. Lines, in true statist fashion, has stated, “We have achieved most of our Bill of Rights freedoms over the last 70 years ...” He has it 180 degrees wrong, and the timeframe is too short. The reality is that since the Thirteenth Amendment was passed, a timeframe of over 120 years, our rights as expressed in the previous Constitution have severely eroded.

By defending the Second Amendment, Mr. Biggs, whether or not he is fully aware of it, is helping in the attempt to restore the Constitution to its original glory. I salute him.

So now we can come to a true moment of constitutional education: The people are sovereign, not the courts. With regard to the Constitution, it is the agency of the people; the people are not the agency of the Constitution. The people hold the right to uphold, to alter or even abolish it.

Roy A. Fuller

Scappoose