Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Story missed the mark in Monmouth
Herb Swett’s coverage of the Oct. 17 Monmouth City Council meeting gives the impression that the city is facing an onslaught of population growth (“Population growth behind Monmouth zoning change,” Oct. 25). Nothing could be further from the truth.
Nowhere in staff’s presentation to the city council did they provide evidence of current, or even anticipated, population pressures. In fact, my testimony pointed to a report recently released by Portland State University’s Population Research Center, finding that Monmouth will experience relatively slow growth for the next 50 years. Further, I showed that the Planning Commission, which had recommended the City Council approve the zone change, failed to conform to its own ordinance standards for zone changes.
The city council, nevertheless, chose to ignore much of my testimony and voted for a zone change to make way for high-density housing in a seasonal wetland at the south edge of town. No conditions were set by either the commission or the council to ensure that construction be integrated with the wetland, which covers more than 50 percent of the property, in a manner to reduce pooling of water during winter rains.
Teachers are amazing
We all hear that teachers have an extremely difficult job, but no one can fully appreciate it until they experience it. I was fortunate enough to have that experience with the physical education teachers at LaCreole Middle School: Mark Hess, Andy Jackson, Julie Petersen and Jen Reinhardt. What I witnessed was nothing short of amazing.
The sheer number of kids they work with, all their quirky personalities, the noise level, and having to repeat the same instructions over and over and over again. I was exhausted just watching. The teachers were patient, fun, efficient, and dealt with five things coming at them all at once. I was baffled, astonished, and awed.
The next time you see them (or any other teacher for that matter) around town, be sure to give them a pat on the back for the excellent job they are doing for the students in our community.
BOC not enforcing zoning codes
This is the second year as a property owner I paid taxes without representation. It is the obligated duties of our three commissioners to enforce the land use laws of the county and state. Our Polk County commissioners are aware of what violations are ongoing by this commercial/industrial wood manufacturing business being run in a residential zoned neighborhood since spring 2016. The property owner does not live at these premises, so he also needs to be accountable.
Maybe I am dealing with politics because it is not the residential land use laws. Vote with your conscious not the party.
White House ‘adult day care center’
Well, the organ grinder and his monkeys are still alive and well at the White House.
The EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, states “the war on coal is over,” and wants to repeal the 2015 climate policy that saves approximately 3,600 lives a year.
Toxic cleanup of the Willamette River is in peril due to changes the EPA wants to make.
On Dec. 22, 2016, Trump stated, “the United States must strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” Isn’t that like playing with matches in a dynamite factory? When will he come to his senses?
On Oct. 13, Trump proposes cutting billions in medical subsidies — so much for his “big heart.”
And let’s not forget Sarah Sanders. Her sarcastic attitude is hard to swallow day after day when she is attempting to clarify what Trump states, such as the comment, “the president wasn’t criticizing previous administration, just stating a fact,” when he said no one called families of fallen soldiers.
Trump’s former campaign manager is under house arrest for “conspiracy against the United States” and money laundering.
On Oct. 8, Sen. Bob Corker called it correctly when he said, “the White House has become an adult daycare center.”
Lord help us all.
Old Legion member would be proud
The American Legion Post 33 lost its longtime member, Ed Pomeroy. Ed passed away earlier this year with 70 years membership in the Independence post. Ed would come to the meetings, sometimes just Ed and myself, which was the case of the last meeting he would attend last May.
He talked about his military service, life around Independence, and the possibility of his reaching 100 years old.
However, Ed’s main concern which he brought up at each meeting was supporting the Independence Heritage Museum. Ed was passionate about the museum in general, but his heart was in the military exhibit.
With Veteran’s Day this month, the Independence Heritage Museum is having a grand re-opening of the military exhibit. Unfortunate that Ed passed away before the completion of the project and the opening on Nov. 10. I’m sure that Ed would have liked what is proposed for the exhibit. Even with Ed’s passing away he asked that contributions in his memory be made to the Independence Heritage Museum.
Visit from son perfect gift
Kari Meyer is an eighth-grade teacher at Talmadge Middle School. Kari is always doing something kind of someone else. Her sisters decided to return the favor and do something to surprise Kari on her birthday.
So Saturday, Nov. 4, the family all met for breakfast at Independence Grill to celebrate her birthday. After the extended family of 11 was seated and chatting, a surprise 12th family member arrived — it was Kari’s son, Zachary. He had left home in early August to attend college in Colorado. He was not going to come home until Christmas break. His aunts and grandparents felt he would be the best present they could give Kari, so they secretly arranged for him to fly home for the birthday surprise.
The secret was kept from Zachary’s dad and his little sisters as well because we couldn’t risk someone spilling the beans.
A good time was had by all, and Kari learned that birthday miracles still do happen.
Polk should consider home rule
Open letter to the citizens of Polk County regarding Commissioner Craig Pope’s coauthored editorial opposing Home Rule in Douglas County. Pope’s hands aren’t full enough managing the affairs of Polk County? You’re paying him $70,188 annually, plus an additional 35 percent for benefits and PERS, to meddle in Douglas County’s affairs? We must wonder why Polk County’s commissioners are concerned with a Home Rule initiative happening in our community. Are they afraid it’s catching? Let’s hope so; and, we can help you get started.
It is offensive and taboo for a commissioner from another county to involve himself in the politics and affairs of another local government. Pope opposed our charter on behalf of commissioners who are under suspicion, as recently reported in the Oregonian, for misuse of Federal Title III dollars. The same commissioners who closed the county’s libraries, outsourced public health services, logged old growth trees at county parks and approved planning permits allowing a foreign corporation to take private properties through eminent domain.
Our charter calls for five elected commissioners giving outlying rural communities a voice, and a professional county manager; not just someone whose only qualification is “they can win elections.”
Polk County citizens are very generous considering your median income is about $42,000 and you pay your commissioners over $70,000 a year, and that doesn’t even include the cost of their benefit package or PERS. Our commissioner’s salaries are $121,000+ with benefits and PERS. A bit out of whack when the average annual income in Douglas County is right around $38,000.
Starting to see our point?
Reach out to us at 541-863-4449 so we can help Polk County citizens with Home Rule; where citizens at the grass roots level institute measures requiring accountability from overpaid elected officials. Polk County needs a Charter too. Call today.
Diana Larson and Stacey McLaughlin