Kudos to ODF, appreciate editor, pardon is abuse of power — Letters to the Editor 9-6-17

Letters to the Editor — 9-6-17

Kudos to Oregon Department of Forestry
I have been a fan of Smokey Bear ever since I visited the forest in southern New Mexico where the original Smokey was found. This past Labor Day weekend, I was privileged to see Smokey at Harbor Vista Park along with the children and families who spent the three-day weekend at the park.

I wish to thank the team of firefighters from the Oregon Department of Forestry in Florence for bringing Smokey and one of their fire trucks. Smokey greeted all the children with hugs and lots of photos were taken by smiling parents.

The team leader, Tom, described the important role his department plays during this dangerous fire season, described fire prevention tactics and displayed his firefighting equipment. A big treat for the children was when a team member and Smokey helped children spray down a mock fire with water from a fire hose.

The event ended with children selecting mementos to take home.

I also want to thank Mike Stewart, the Park caretaker, for his thoughtful invitation to the ODF. This was a second event put on at the park this summer, the first being a presentation by Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue.

Mike has involved the Friends of Harbor Vista Park in these events and several local residents helped with greetings to the campers.

The event ended with everyone remembering Smokey’s famous charge: “Only you can prevent wild fires.”

—Michael Allen
Friends of Harbor Vista Park

What I appreciate in a newspaper editor
Do you know what I appreciate in a newspaper editor? Accuracy and fairness, and adherence to facts. That is what I appreciate about Ned Hickson.

I was shocked to read about Pamela Richardson’s declaration that he was unfair about calling the president’s response to Charlottesville “ambiguous.”

Although she may find support among the 28 percent of Americans who support the President’s speech and actions, there are about 56 percent who disagree with them. Some of the prominent conservatives who were appalled at President Trump’s response include Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Cory Gardener, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. John McCain, Charles Krauthammer, Karl Rove ... should I go on?

Those are facts, real news, and I applaud Ned Hickson for connecting the dots that a majority of people plainly see.

I must assume Ms. Richardson supports who I believe is a deeply flawed man and incompetent President.

That is just an opinion — my opinion — based on the facts of his actions.
Ms. Richardson’s analysis that Ned Hickson was unfair is her opinion — not a fact.
Having many prominent conservatives say that the President’s response was insufficient is also fact. So our editor has tied his assertion to an idea, though not popular with you, that is based in factual consensus. And, by saying it was ambiguous, Ned Hickson was actually being diplomatic (It was called worse).

I’d like to add that Sen. Hatch tweeted that his brother did not fight Nazis in WWII so that their ideas would go unchallenged here at home.

Neither did my uncle Gilbert, who gave his life in the Push, KIA Nov 7, 1944, the Netherlands (104th, Timberwolves out of Camp Adair). He rests there in the American Cemetery at Margraten.

When our country asks our young men to lay down their lives to fight Nazis, their sacrifice should never be disrespected by not condemning Nazis and all they represent.

That’s something I will never let anyone forget.

I feel it was remarkably underhanded to call for conservatives to think twice about advertising in the paper. A dishonorable threat, in my opinion, that smacks of intimidation and the stuff of bullies.

Personally, I think Ned Hickson leans to the right, to my consternation. But he is always fair and deals in facts.

That is what good editors do, to the consternation of bullies.

—Stephanie Spradling

Arpaio pardon an abuse of power
“Remember, I can do anything to anyone.”

This was the precept by which Caligula ruled Rome in disregard of its governing institutions and traditions. In my opinion, it might well be the opening words of the Arpaio pardon.

Before my wife and I moved to Florence 15 years ago, Joe Arpaio, America’s self-proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff,” was our sheriff. He bragged about housing prisoners (mostly Hispanic) in Army surplus tents next to garbage dumps in Arizona’s summer heat, dressing them in prison black and white stripes (and pink underwear) while sending them out to work in chain gangs, feeding them green bologna sandwiches and making racial profiling Standard Operating Procedure.

His “toughness” got him reelected five times, even though it cost Maricopa County taxpayers $140 million in court judgments and legal fees, including $6 million and $8.25 million to the families of two men killed while in Arpaio’s custody.

We moved back to Scottsdale eight months ago. Sheriff Joe had just been voted out. But, he still faced federal charges for his refusal to enforce a 2011 court order to discontinue racial profiling practices. Two months ago, a federal judge found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court.

Meanwhile, President Trump has insulted judges because of their ethnicity, disparaged their rulings, attempted to interfere with a federal investigation and tried to have the Justice Department drop Arpaio’s prosecution.

However, the Arpaio pardon sets a new standard of disrespect for the courts and the rule of law.

Arpaio’s pardon demeans the role and authority of the judiciary that, as chief executive, he is constitutionally bound to uphold.

Yes, the U.S. Constitution gives the president power to pardon people convicted of federal offenses, even an elected official who has violated people’s constitutional rights.

But, it is an abuse of that power when the offense for which Arpaio was pardoned was being contemptuous of a federal judge’s order.

President Trump’s abuse is being contemptuous of the interdependence of separate but equal branches. It is an affront to every federal judge, whether nominated by a Republican or Democrat.

With his pardon, the President has essentially told us, “Remember, I can do anything to anyone.”

—Arnold Buchman

Dislike of hate makes me extremist?
In response to the letter from Stephen Johnson (Sept. 2) about liberal extremism (“Liberal Extremism Destroying Our Fabric,” Sept. 2), it is not acceptable for my neighbor, or anyone else, to suffer even one incident of hate — and sadly, it has not been only once. It is just wrong that in this country anyone would be subject to an ugly comment based on race or culture. This happens in school with bullying, racist jokes in social settings and many places where one may not feel safe with some hateful remark.

Way back in my mother’s family is a grandfather, John Rolfe, who married Pocahontas. They had one son, Thomas Rolfe, in 1611.

My father’s parents came from Istibna, Austria, which is now Poland. My father was born in Wyoming in 1915. On this side of my family I am only a second generation American.

So, I don’t appreciate slurs against people who are different in any way by name or looks.

If my dislike of hate of any kind makes me an extremist liberal, than I would wear that badge with honor.

—Nancy Rickard

What about the animals?
I’m writing in regard to the recent ad in the Siulsaw News paid for by Oregon Coast Humane Society (Aug. 23).

What is astonishingly absent from that self-aggrandizing advertisement is the animals. There was little or no mention of enrichment programs for long-term animals — only passing mention of the spay/neuter clinic, and no mention of the fact there has been only one spay/neuter clinic since February.

Those volunteers and concerned citizens who have spoken up in recent weeks about OCHS are concerned about the animals at OCHS and accusations of neglect at the hands of the current board, as well as certain shelter staff members.

Many of us have been concerned and brought issues forward years ago — only to be ignored.

You must ask yourself: Did the ad say anything about how the animals are being taken care of day-to-day? Did it explain why there currently is no vet on staff? Was there any talk of what the OCHS is doing to educate the public about how spay/neuter is crucial to ending the cycle of unwanted animals? Did it address the total absence of low-cost spay-neuter services for the past 5-plus months?

The OCHS board has abused its power. A new board comprised of people who are less interested in protecting their fiefdom and more focused on taking care of the animals is needed.

—Dolly Brock

Stop falling for the lies
I am thoroughly disgusted that we are even discussing the possibility of cutting after school programs like our local “Twilight” program.

I don’t understand what is wrong with this swamp-filled administration. Cutting $10 billion from education is like shooting yourself in the foot. Kids are our future and no one can dispute that. Cutting the Twilight programs for middle and high school students is particularly upsetting because these kids are old enough to be unsupervised but not necessarily mature enough to be making good choices.

Drugs and alcohol are out there, and there are people looking for young, unsupervised kids to influence. To make it here in Florence, many parents must work, and having a good after school program is essential. Parents need to know their kids are in a safe, nurturing environment while they are working.

My three kids all graduated from the Siuslaw School District and I drove a school bus here for 17 years. My youngest graduated in 2003 and I stopped driving in 1997. Drugs, alcohol and teen sex were problems then and I’m sure are even more prevalent now.

Where would you want your kids to spend several hours after school? Is this really “Putting America first?”

Regarding budget cuts, why is the Trump Administration cutting over 1/3 of the State Departmen’ts budget?

The State Department is vital in virtually every aspect of how America is represented literally everywhere in the world. That includes issues dealing with health, such as fresh water, women’s health, disease control, vaccinations and so much more.

Diplomacy puts a good face on how we are represented, navigating other customs and trying to keep the peace around the world. And the budget is being cut?
My son, who has worked for the State Department’s Foreign Service for the past 13 years, has represented the U.S. in Bulgaria, Bosnia, Estonia and Kenya, and now he and his family are spending three years in Belgium.

Sounds glamorous, but it isn’t. Pay is low and danger is high — especially under the current administration.

The rest of the world is wondering what America was thinking and so am I.

America fell for his lies, “Buh-lieve me.”

—Gail Katz Hanson

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