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Letters to the editor

No accountability over Cover Oregon debacle

To the editor:

I’m writing in response to Rep. Betty Komp’s op-ed last week on the Cover Oregon debacle (“More accountability needed for future government projects, Feb. 26 issue). Cover Oregon is our state’s poster child for mismanagement, incompetence and government waste.

Since it’s turned into a political albatross, politicians like Rep. Komp who supported it are running the other way, pointing fingers at others, or rushing to enact or support new laws to prevent “the next time.” Meanwhile, they’re just going to let Cover Oregon continue on its merry little way, rather than calling for accountability and exercising their constitutionally mandated oversight duties.

There shouldn’t be a next time, nor would Cover Oregon be the mess that it is if the governor, our legislators and the bureaucrats had done their jobs.

I’ve yet to see Rep. Komp or any other legislator (Democrat or Republican) call for an audit of Cover Oregon by the Secretary of State Audits Division. Our state attorney general is quick to sue businesses and corporations over consumer protection issues, but is visibly absent on the Cover Oregon debacle. Ditto for the state insurance commissioner.

There’s plenty of accountability to go around, and heads should roll. As citizens, we may not be able to fire the bungling bureaucrats and the incompetent state lawyers who approved sloppy contracts. We can, however, un-elect the governor and legislators who are unwilling to demand accountability on our behalf.

Kim Wallis

St. Paul

‘Page from the Past’ appreciated

To the editor:

Thank you for the historical pages from the Woodburn Independent that you have been printing this year. They have been interesting to read.

I have read many of the older papers on microfilm, but this is a nice addition to share with more people in our area.

Diana Lindberg

Woodburn

District needs community support

To the editor:

As a parent and volunteer for the Woodburn School District, I’ve seen the district make tough decisions in order to weather years of budget cuts. A skilled administration and dedicated school board have worked hard to minimize the impact on our kids. Now they need our help.

Our schools are in need of repairs, upgrades and renovations. While the district has made wise use of the funding allotted by the state, these general funds do not provide for capital improvements. Such funding is entrusted to the community to approve. With help from a committee that included community members, the district has prioritized the most pressing needs to keep our schools functional and safe. Our schools need renovations to provide for much needed classroom space and safety enhancements as well as heating and cooling system replacements. Other priorities include roof repairs, seismic upgrades for earthquake readiness, and technology and security upgrades.

Safe and functional schools are critical to the wellbeing of our community. This May, the Woodburn community will have the opportunity to support our schools by approving a bond measure that addresses these needs while keeping the tax rate lower than the current rate we are paying. Join me in approving this measure to repair, renovate and update our schools.

George Gubbins

Woodburn

Not enough information available to support bond

To the editor:

What do we know about the proposed bond sale by the school? Nothing really except the taxpayers will pay a few cents a thousand less than the bond sale in 1995. My understanding was that the original number was in the area of $120 million and that number was reduced to $70 million then reduced to $60 million. The press release apparently did not include the final dollar amount for the vote in May.

As to revenue neutral, that is a play on words only and the 7 cents a thousand savings is a Houdini special.

Think about it, the proposed bond sale in 1995 was for about $29 million and the new bond sale is about two and a half times that number. Woodburn has grown in the last 20 years and the simple fact is, a lot more property has become taxable and the cost is shared by more property owners.

What is missing is an explanation of how the school district arrived at the estimated cost for the repairs, improvements to the schools. The newspaper article is confusing at best because the main topic is the diminished amount of classroom space and not about the need for repairs, upgrades and safety. Also, no itemized list of repairs is available with the estimated cost just general terms such as, replace windows, new furnaces and upgrade telephone system.

The most important items left out of the discussion is the lead paint and asbestos problem at Nellie Muir Elementary School. Any school built before 1978 has to meet certain EPA requirements for lead and asbestos testing and certain notifications are required of the school district and also a management plan is required.

The health and safety of students and employees should be the number one priority. Yes, there can be lead and asbestos in a school facility and, as long as the material is not disturbed or exposed, the hazardous items do not have to be removed. How does one replace furnaces, windows and floors without disturbing the lead and asbestos? If you have questions on lead and/or asbestos all you have to do is telephone the EPA or use their website.

No doubt about it, the need for repairing Nellie Muir is genuine but not enough information is available for me to vote for the bond at the present time.

Terry Will

Woodburn

Police department lacks leadership

To the editor:

I’ve read that Woodburn Police Officer Daniel Kelly has been asked for his badge and gun from the department.

I’m assuming since his supervisor Sgt. John Mikkola was not able to complete the alleged rape of Kelly’s girlfriend, he had to go?

Chief Scott Russell’s force is lacking from competent leadership and the citizens of Woodburn will pay dearly for his incompetence.

Makes one wonder who’s minding the crooks.

Arnold Ponce

Woodburn



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