LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Thanks for balanced disaster coverage

I am glad that the Itemizer is printing articles about preparing for earthquakes. I experienced the 9.2 Alaska earthquake in 1964, and I see some things that most people don’t think of in preparing for emergencies. Families’ preparations for an earthquake can go a long way toward being prepared for other emergencies — an ice storm, a wind storm that takes out power and blocks roads, etc. Panic is not necessary, by any means — and some other publications have been producing that effect in readers. Not “all” refrigerators will “walk,” not “all” hillsides will slide, not “all” west of I-5 will be “toast.” I like seeing more balanced reporting, along with practical ways people can be less dependent on services that may be in short supply. My advice is to do what you can to prepare to live on the basics, and remember that bridges and communications are often not dependable after an earthquake.

Linda Medsker

Dallas

Neighbor’s weeds pose fire risk

I can sympathize with folks concerned about fire danger. My neighbor has over 2-foot weeds and grass on three sides of his building.

But my neighbor is Polk County Fire District No. 1 Station 40. Guess it’s a case of, do as we say, not as we do.

Glad the rain is coming.

Pamela Venegas

Independence

Editor’s note: Deputy Chief Neal Olson said the weeds would be mowed this week.

Dallas firefighters put out arboretum blaze

Thank you to our wonderful Dallas volunteer firefighters who extinguished a small grass and shrub fire in Hunter Arboretum on Aug. 24. Without their timely response, the fire could have spread along the creek, into the trees and then who knows. The fire serves as a reminder to us all that, in spite of the recent rain, everything is very dry and waiting for a spark to begin burning. This fire was undoubtedly started by someone who carelessly disposed of a cigarette, as we have seen on a smaller scale in prior years. This is only one of the reasons that smoking is not allowed in Dallas parks. Thanks for your help in reducing the risk of fire in our parks by not smoking and asking those you see who are to stop.

Dale Derouin

Friends of the Delbert Hunter Arboretum

Dallas

Hermelinda’s salon has closed its doors

Hermelinda’s Beauty Salon, which first opened in Independence in August 1973, has closed its doors Aug. 24.

Hermelinda had customers who go back to when she first opened in 1973. The children and grandchildren of those first customers later became Hermelinda’s customers.

I would like to thank all those customers I had during the 42 years as a hairstylist in Independence. I will miss you all greatly. I would also like to thank my business neighbors for always being there for me, Tom Pfaff, Sandy’s Jewelry, Dr. Turgeson and his staff.

I would also like to thank Central Plaza owners for their outstanding support. In particular, C Cable Realty, you were not just great landlords but great friends. I wish I could have thanked you all in person, but due to medical issues that was not possible.

Hermelinda Garcia

Independence

Elected leaders shouldn’t be paid

There are 36 elected local governing bodies in Polk County that assess property taxes. Each organization is governed by elected members. Only Polk County commissioners get compensation.

Other elected governing bodies members are volunteers. So why do Polk County commissioners get salaries?

County commissioners pay themselves because of tradition. In the past, county commissioners provided judicial services and administered state and county government services.

In Polk County that is not the case.

The true administration and management of most Polk County services rests in the hands of the county administrator and department heads.

The duties of Polk County commissioners are primarily legislative.

ORS 203.035 declares “the governing body or the electors of a county may by ordinance exercise authority within the county over matters of county concern. …” Details include setting annual budgets, authorizing compensation for county employees, entering into contracts, approving county ordinances, setting fees for services, and providing quasi-judicial review of land use decisions.

These duties mirror those performed by unpaid city councils, which are also “local public bodies.”

Polk County commissioners, like city councils, hire a professional administrator to run the operations of the county, leaving for themselves only ordinance and policy decisions.

How do taxpayers benefit from the more than $70,000 paid to each commissioner to perform the same duties that volunteer mayors and city councils provide for Polk County city residents? Why should Polk County residents continue to compensate county commissioners?

E.M. Easterly

West Salem

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