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Letters to the Editor May 11, 2013

bad news no dream

Well  guess I am no longer a dreamer. 

After reading Saturday’s Pilot and on the very first page seeing that there was another  burglary and reading Sue Gold’s opposition to a tax that would provide additional security I have stopped dreaming of a deputy on call, a sheriff with a proper staff and  a feeling of security in your own home. 

Did you read about the 85 year old woman who had a burglar break into her home? No deputies were on call at the time. A deputy had to receive assistance from a private security company. Deputy Ensley had to be called to respond from his home. Feel good all of those who don’t want a property tax? 

Do any of you read about the situation in Josephine County? How can we hope to attract tourists  or new businesses or new home buyers when there is a rise in crime? Any solutions, or should we continue to bury our heads in the sand?

We are letting our beautiful way of life in such a wonderful area fall by the wayside. Please, wake up before Curry County ceases to exist as we once knew it.

Dare I dream again?

Gerry Kass  

Harbor

keep voice at swocc

For the May 21 Special District Election, please keep Curry County represented on the Southwest Oregon Community College (SWOCC) board.

Since 1995, when Curry County was annexed to the SWOCC district, Position 7 has traditionally been held by someone from Curry County. This seat is the only representation Curry County has on the seven person board of Southwest Oregon Community College

Now, Danny Stoddard, a Coos County resident, is running against Curry County’s Judy May Lopez for Position 7. Candidates for the other SWOCC board positions are Coos County residents as well

Judy is currently serving on the SWOCC board, having been chosen by the college in late January to finish the term of Curry County’s Cherie Mitchell, who retired before the end of her term. Our local college had spent some time looking for a suitable replacement. They chose Judy May Lopez.

Judy is a well qualified professional who works for Rogue Federal Credit Union and has been actively involved in our community for many years. She understands the challenges of education in  rural areas and is a SWOCC alumni herself, as well as a Ford Family Leadership graduate. 

For the SWOCC Board to make good policies with a regional perspective, there needs to be representation from its geographically diverse college campuses.

Helping Curry County and its SWOCC education centers to continue to have a voice can only make for a stronger community college system.

Please vote for Judy May Lopez for Position 7 on the SWOCC board. 

Georgia Yee Nowlin

Brookings

you want it? you pay

I am a registered Democrat and have found that there are many other Democrats who feel like me: We say no to a property tax increase. 

For the past few years instead of a pay raise, I have seen one to three furlough days a month. Property values have dropped but property taxes have not. In reading the front page news, it appears that our editor is pushing this tax agenda upon the readers. 

Some of the letters to the editor insinuate that it is the rich property owners who are against the tax. Some say it is only Republicans who are against the tax. Look again. 

Most homeowners are against this tax and most of us are not rich. Most are on limited fixed incomes and already pay a property tax along with our monthly mortgage. (Are these) homeowners the ones who use most of the sheriff’s resources? 

I vote that the people who need and want to use these resources foot the bill. Anyway, why does the sheriff need an additional five million five hundred thousand dollars a year??

Edwin Ajimine

Brookings

join the parties

Political bipartisanship is alive and well in Curry County. 

Both the Curry County Republicans and the Curry County Democrats have officially endorsed passage of Measure 8-71, which will provide minimally acceptable levels of funding for veterans’ services, tax collection, county law enforcement, juvenile services, and our district attorney’s office. Without passage of 8-71, control of these mandated services will be handed over to Salem, and nobody knows exactly how that would work out, but we do know it would be expensive. 

Please join me and all good Republicans and Democrats to vote YES on 8-71, and we can keep local control of Curry County’s most essential services. 

Lisa Griffith

Brookings

she takes it seriously

I believe that the education of the children in our community is something we should all be concerned about.  I hope those who may be reading this would feel the same way. 

If so, I would encourage you to vote for Katherine Johnson to fill Position 5 on the Brookings-Harbor School District School Board. I know Katherine Johnson would have the commitment necessary to take the responsibilities of the position seriously and be devoted to arriving at decisions that would be in the best interests of our student’s education.

Katherine Johnson will get our vote for Position 5 on the BHSD School Board.

Don and Roberta Chandler

Brookings

Yes on Measure 8-71 

We now have a rare opportunity to change the course of Curry County in order to avoid a very real crisis. Measure 8-71 if approved gives a 5 year “fiscal bridge” to enable us to fashion a carefully crafted and pennanent solution to Curry County’s financial challenges. Approval of 8-71 gives us the law enforcement tools we will need over this 5-year period of time and if we do receive Federal Safety Net related payments over this period the tax will be reduced.

Some have tried to shift the issue by talking about Charter Counties, or by saying 8-71 is not perfect, or by questioning the involvement of folks with Tolowa heritage in their efforts to pass 8-71 (even though over 160 of those tribal members live in Curry County and are also at risk with the current low levels oflaw enforcement expenditures), or other questions of little relevance to the problem at hand. These efforts simply serve to divert and distract. 

The real issue is that we have cut County Services “to the bone.” We have a very real revenue shortage due to our low tax rate and the inability to harvest trees on Federal Forest Service lands. It is clear that the Federal Government is not going to bail us out in necessary amount in time to avert the crisis and probably not at all. But the State of Oregon may become integrally involved if we fail in our endeavor. 

We must keep local control and provide adequate levels of law enforcement and the best way to do that is to approve Measure 8-71. Please join me in support of Measure 8-71.

Dave Itzen

Harbor

continue lifestyle

This letter is in regards to the upcoming election on May 21.

 We are residents of California, so we can not vote in the election, but we are property owners of three parcels located on Oceanview Drive in Harbor. We feel it is very important to Curry County for this measure to pass. We would not like to see the state come in and take over, as it would devalue the property for all of us. 

We have been very fortunate to live in such a beautiful area and pay so little in property tax compared to other areas of the state. We personally, or other members of our family, have been involved in the area and owned property since 1954. 

No one like taxes to go up, but if we want to continue with the lifestyle we enjoy, we are going to have to help pay for it. 

We urge you to vote “Yes” on 8-71 on your May 21 ballot. Thank you. 

L.C. and 

Cathy Ashcraft 

Redding

relieved to note

I am relieved to note that the state is not planning on taking over or governing counties or cities of Oregon which are in financial distress. 

HB 3453 no longer contains any provisions that could be interpreted as authorization for the governor to take over local government, levy or increase taxes, consolidate cities and counties, or take money from one local government and transfer it to another. 

Now, perhaps we can get on with some long term solutions to our county’s financial crisis that is based on fact. Isn’t it wonderful when managers manage? 

Our city mayors and managers are to be commended for utilizing a sound system of government on our behalf. 

Kudos. 

Janet Richey

Brookings

Law most important

 Dear Curry County citizens: Every one of us who has the privilege of living in this best place in Oregon needs to consider carefully how they vote with regard to the Public Safety Levy Proposal which appears on the ballot at the upcoming May election.

I and my family have lived in the county for 44 years. We have owned property and paid property taxes every one of those years. We have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the benefits afforded by the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement personnel. I did serve as a commissioner for the county for eight of those years and remained on the budget committee as a lay member for several years after leaving office. 

The budget for law enforcement has always been regarded as one of the most important sections of county activity, and rightly so. In spite of reduced revenue due to unwise federal actions, Curry County has recognized the necessity of maintaining that function of county activity for all citizens, including the patrol activity and the incarceration of persons who had not learned how to properly live in society. We must not allow work already done by law enforcement activity directed toward keeping Curry County a place where we can live safely, to deteriorate, due to lack of funding.

Please vote ‘’Yes’’ with me as you complete your ballot that includes a tax levy measure for law enforcement activity. We must do all we can to keep Curry County a safe place for law-abiding citizens! 

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. 

TV Skinner 

Gold Beach

starve the leviathan

The scare tactic about the Mexican Mafia waiting in the wings has been met with skepticism.

So the powers that be have trotted out another bogeyman for a return performance. If a loved one dies at home, you may have to wait hours before a deputy sheriff arrives to investigate and allows the undertaker to remove the deceased. 

Of course, the obvious solution would be to have a reserve or per diem deputy who is also a licensed medical professional, be on call. He/she could respond and handle the matter. But I am sure the labor union which represents the county employees would have something to say about that. Showing the public what could be accomplished without paying a full-time salaried employee to do the task is not good for business. 

People must realize the leviathan (government) never concedes power. It will always seek to grow by imposing more fees and higher taxes. And, it uses fear and other tactics, counting on the low-information voters, to perpetuate its existence. I saw this firsthand when I served on the budget committee for the city of Brookings. 

Property owners will always be in the government’s gun sight because they are the easiest targets. Do not seriously talk about across-the-board salary and benefit cuts and contract renegotiations. Do not even mention establishing a lower-cost, county-wide law enforcement district. And do not even think about giving us voters the option of a local sales tax, which would spread the burden out more. 

Let’s just target the fixed-income property owners. And be sure not to mention Curry County has known this debacle was coming for the last 11 years I have lived here. 

It is time to starve the leviathan. 

John M. Johnson 

Brookings

support 3 for swocc

Judy May-Lopez is no stranger to Southwestern Community College (SWOCC).

 She first gained her two-year degree from SWOCC’s Curry program and then utilized the college’s University Center connection to Eastern Oregon University to finish her bachelor’s degree. She is aware of the challenges faced by Curry students and those of other rural areas in finding and completing the coursework students need to meet their goals. 

Judy May-Lopez is well known on the southern coast through her professional and volunteer activities. She has been employed for many years with the Chetco, now Rogue, Federal Credit Union, using her education to reach new positions. She is a Rotarian, has served on the boards of the Food Bank, Chetco Activity Center and Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce, a Ford Foundation Leadership graduate and served on the Capitol Campaign committee to build the Curry SWOCC campus. I am certain that she will continue to bring a level of professional and personal knowledge and expertise to Position 7 SWOCC Board of Education and encourage you to vote for her. I wholeheartedly support Judy May-Lopez for position  No. 7. 

There are two other positions open on the SWOCC Board. Marcia Jensen (Position 2) and David Bridgeham (Position 4) have been on the board for some time — both having served terms as chairperson. Both have given strong support for the Curry program. They have made good strategic decisions while dealing with considerable cutbacks in funding from the legislature. 

I strongly support Judy May Lopez, Marcia Jensen and David Bridgeham for the Board of Education, Southwestern Oregon Community College. 

Cherie Mitchell,

former board member SWOCC 

Brookings

local hasn’t worked

The scare tactics coming from all sides to promote the Law Levy Tax Bailout fails to mention that the crime rate in Josephine County is high because you have three to four times the rural population in that crime infested area, therefore three to four times the crime rate as opposed to Curry County — higher insurance rates for us overburdened property owners seems dubious. I contacted all four of my insurers: Hartford said any increase not likely, Progressive said it’s not in any future plans because of our lack of county services, Country Insurance answered it would require a crime wave unsurpassed to consider such an increase in such a small populated area, and Medicare declined to comment without government approval from higher up! 

Local control has not worked! Local control has done absolutely nothing to improve the law enforcement situation in our county. 

Let’s give a try to outside control and see what happens! 

I’ll march down Chetco Avenue with a “Vote ‘Yes’ for 8-71” sign posted on my anterior and my posterior if the county commissioners cut their salaries as they promised before the election. …

Gary Smith

Pistol River

burden on our backs

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting or not wanting tax increases. 

So many reasons are spoken/written in general terms. I would like to tell you my reasons for voting against the upcoming May property tax levy using specifics. 

If the levy passes, our property tax will increase $942.78 a year — for a total property tax of just under $6,000 a year! And on the heels of that, Brookings will increase water rates 3.9 percent and sewer rates 4.9 percent (sewer fees alone almost $680 a year). 

Does Curry County need additional monies? Yes, since our federal government cannot balance its own checkbook and goes back on its word. Why do our county commissioners want to place all of the burden for additional county monies on the backs of property owners? 

Everyone should help out — homeowners, renters, tourists. That can be done with a 2- to 4-percent sales tax put into effect.

Property tax – “No” Sales tax – “Yes.” 

Don Vilelle 

Brookings

can you imagine?

Thank you Gerry Kass, (Pilot, April 14);  now there are six of us. 

Once again, the Pilot mis-speaks, the crisis in Curry County is 20 years old not two. The original three million that started this crisis is seldom mentioned, except in passing. There are simple solutions to this so-called doom. 

The cost of three commissioners will support four deputies. 

A 10-percent cut in the salaries of all public employees would be a miracle for the whole country, 

Twenty-five percent participation by public employees in their benefits and medical insurance is not unreasonable. 

If a supervisor can not do the job his employees are required to do he should be terminated and the employees should be able to supervise or they should be terminated. 

The state is talking about a sales tax; if the county had or would enact a sales tax and the state did the same, Can You Imagine.

A month or two ago I suggested the commissioners would do nothing until the tax measure was voted on — Ta-da. 

Curry County finally made the national news. Not because it’s a great place, because it’s broke. The city of Brookings is raising fees again; no cuts, no furloughs, just more fees. Put the property tax and new fees together and you have a new disaster. 

Simple solutions to complex problems. 

Clifton Siemens

Brookings 

an asset and wows

I have had the pleasure to serve in many different facets of our community for the past 14 years. I have been involved with the school district, athletics, both by coaching and as a board member. 

During these years, I had the pleasure of working with the Johnson family and proudly endorse Katherine Johnson for a school board position. I have personally worked with this tireless and motivated candidate and not only does she care for the children, teachers and welfare of our community, she lives it by and through her constant volunteering and contributions. Ms. Johnson would be a significant asset to our school board and I ask you to vote for Katherine Johnson for Brookings-Harbor School District 17-C, Position 5. 

In addition, I had the privilege of attending the 2013 Azalea Princess Festival Pageant on Friday evening, and all I can say is “Wow!” What an enchanted evening indeed! From a production point of view, things flowed flawlessly. Hats off to the fine folks behind the scenes. The musical interludes were entertaining and professionally done. Great job! 

I am still in awe of the hard work, determination, creativity and talent that these young ladies possess. Wow. 

I would also like to point out the hard work, the hours, and the sacrifices that these girls made. It is obvious to me that, no matter what the future holds for these young ladies, they will be writing their own successful stories. 

All of the Azalea princesses deserve our congratulations. We look forward to seeing you in the Azalea Parade, as well as hearing about your continued achievements. Wow. 

Michael J. Freels

Brookings

we, they, deserve it

As a returning resident of Gold Beach I would just like to say that this is a beautiful place to live, and the police do an excellent job of keeping us safe. 

Their work goes mostly unnoticed, but it is highly effective to our well-being as good-intentioned citizens. What goes on behind the scenes would surprise most of us. 

The proposed tax levy in this month’s election will prevent these hard-working professionals from having to cut back on patrols, close the jail, and allow crime to run rampant in this community. 

Please do not let this happen. All you need to do is look at what happened in Josephine County when they voted to not fund law enforcement. If this were to happen here, I would leave this community in a heartbeat. 

This does not amount to that much money, if one just looks at the benefits. Let’s give these hard working law enforcement professionals a pat on the back by voting YES on this measure. They deserve it. 

We deserve it. 

Mike Liscio 

Gold Beach

preposterous tax

My fellow citizens, the idea of passing a property tax at this time is preposterous. 

The cost of living continues to go up every month; especially food prices, health insurance, drugs, fuel, etc. And ... congress keeps threatening to reduce Medicare and Medicaid (which could happen in the next five years). Then there is the threat of Social Security slowing down COLAs, not to mention cuts to Head Start and Meals On Wheels.

Scaring old folks with threats of crime and the Mexican Mafia is reprehensible.

If you think the tax will go away in five years, I’ve got some oceanfront property to sell you located in Kansas. Five year tax, what, are we, stupid? I guess we will find out, eh?

I’ve offered suggestions, not one reply. Think it through folks. We need our money more than the sheriff does. Vote NO on 7-81 and extend the time you can afford to live here.

Mike Schrum

Brookings

regret vote for you

Law Levy? Let the guilt trips begin. It has been said that it will only cost us an additional $1 a day. Maybe for some, but it would cost me $2 more, added to the $13 I presently pay and it ceases to be fun. Since we have the second lowest tax rate of any Oregon County — which is at the heart of the problem, why are the other counties with higher rates also broke? Raising rates doesn’t sound like the answer.

It’s been known for years that the O&C funding would end. But when times were good, O&C money was there, building was booming, development fees were abundant and tax rates were not an issue. Well, nothing is forever. Our rates were even flaunted as a means of drawing in new business and new money.

Now we’re broke. We need a new jail, more jailers, more prosecutors and more probation officers. Our law enforcement is busy busting perps with less than an ounce of marijuana for the associated $1,300 fines — which will never be paid. This is a system that needs more money thrown at it? This system needs fixing. I admit that I don’t have an immediate answer but then I’m not being paid to find one either.

To OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS: we are paying you to be leaders. Quit whining and using petty scare tactics. True leaders don’t have time to bellyache. For what you’re being paid I expect you to come up with reasonable solutions. And if you don’t have any, other than increasing my property taxes by $700 a year (this time), then I don’t want you to represent me. For those of you I voted for, I truly regret it.

I’m voting against 8-71, the alleged law levy.

Jim Clarkson

Brookings

strange bedfellows

It’s in the bag,” is the message being trumpeted by Curry County by Commissioners Smith and ltzen, on their predicted outcome of the seriously flawed ballot measure 8-71. 

Say it often enough and loudly enough seems to be the mantra for ensuring their bag doesn’t come up empty. As for the volume of their message, it has been sufficient to be heard across county and state lines and resonate with an entity that has no business, at the time of this writing, in Curry County. 

The April 30 edition of the Pilot includes an article titled “Tax levy PAC gets financial support.” The report identified the Smith River Rancheria as the largest single contributor. The “Tribal administrator” for the Rancheria stated three reasons for Rancheria dollars being donated to the PAC; these include a claim of ancestral lands, the welfare of tribal members residing in Curry County, and a concern for Curry County’s economic stability and local control. 

The Rancheria website claims the Tolowa Tribe’s ancestral territories extend into Oregon to the Sixes River. Although the subject can’t be debated here, the research evidence cited by noted archaeologists and cultural anthropologists identify the Smith River as the tribe’s northern ancestral boundary. Does this claim represent a signal that the Rancheria has plans to expand its economic and political interests across the state line? 

Many, if not most of the tribal members, have complained they were neither informed nor consulted on the question of the Rancheria’s financial support for Curry County’s tax initiative. 

Is it coincidental that the Rancheria’s land claim, in this instance, extends to the Pistol River, which is also the site of the Crook Point Golf Course project? 

If our two commissioners can take a break from their “fear mongering,” perhaps they can devote some time in assessing the suitability of their bedfellows. 

Mike Adams

Brookings 

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