Let's fix this; Credit given to mayor; Who do you want to represent you?


Your Letters to the Editor for Oct. 17, 2020

Let’s fix this; please vote

I am greatly disturbed by the Siuslaw News’ investigative reporting on our city government. There are two things that stand out to me that I think we can make better.

1) Really? Secret planning meetings, disrespectful and bickering dialogue, stacking of committees and the creation of a huge partisan divide?

Is it too much to ask for a balanced and fair representation of our community on the City Council and Committees?

We have the opportunity to change the existing culture with this election by replacing three positions. We can vote for the three candidates that I believe will continue the existing culture or we can vote for Jo Beaudreau, Maggie Bagon and Sally Wantz.

I believe each of these candidates will bring the knowledge, integrity and communication skills necessary to heal the chasm that has been created. 

2) So many issues surfaced within these meetings, I think we should disband the Florence Urban Renewal Agency (FURA). Because of how it’s listed on our property taxes, it appears that FURA takes its deduction directly from our property taxes, similar to the deductions for the school district, ambulance, fire, port, library, etc.

In reality, the money to fund FURA is taken away from the school, ambulance, fire, port, library, etc., deductions and put into the FURA account. Then, these funds can only be used within the Urban Renewal boundaries — essentially Old Town.

These are monies that I think would be better utilized by the services that serve the entire community, not just Old Town. Services we need now more than ever.

Also, unlike the City of Florence, FURA can spend/borrow large sums of money without taking it to the public or community for a vote.  These expenditures only need to be approved by the FURA Board of Directors and, once again, can only be spent within the Urban Renewal boundaries.

And in the current climate with questions about committee placements, it begs the question: “Who wouldn’t want to have some influence over this group?”

And remember: All the money for FURA is taken away from our other services. If Mike Webb and Ron Preisler are not approved to be part of this group, I will have serious concerns.

These are only two of the many objections I have to Urban Renewal. In this day and time, I am worried about so many things. It would be really helpful to not have to be concerned with the integrity of our local elected officials. 

Let’s fix this; please vote.

—Ann Huntington

Florence

Credit should be given to Mayor Henry

In response to the Siuslaw News’ investigative series, it seems that a little credit should be given to the Mayor for the positive things that have occurred under his leadership during the past 6 years.

A few examples include:

1) Completion of the Rhododendron Multi-use path.

2) A new “Green” Public Works Building completed for $3.5 million on a budget of $6 million.

3) Newly remodeled City Hall which cost $3.5 million which would have cost $6 million for a new building.

4) ReVision Florence beatification project on Highway 101.

5) New “Exploding Whale” River access park.

6) $1.1 million upgrade to the Municipal Airport which only cost the City $10,000.

7) Sale and development of several lots in the industrial park when none had been sold for many years. Some of those with businesses have created jobs.

8) More than 200 homes either under construction or in planning, many of which are affordable homes.

9) Florence is now proud to be a “Coast Guard City.”

This is just to name a few.

So if you want to see continued progress in the city, vote for Joe Henry.

—Frank Williams

Florence

Who do you want to represent you?

Voters have choices and who you vote for matters. I will always choose a candidate that demonstrates that they want to work for a brighter future and have the experience and the desire to represent everyone while working together.

However, there are candidates in the upcoming election that are supported by Timber Unity, the very group credited with urging the walkouts by GOP legislators that prevented votes on other essential legislation as well.

Who do you want to represent you?

Our first champion to represent us is Congressman Peter DeFazio who is always working hard to put politics aside and put people first. We also have the opportunity to elect two great candidates to represent us in Salem who have both shown through their experience and desire that they will represent everyone in our coastal communities.

In State Senate District 5, Melissa Cribbins, who grew up in Coos County and is a Coos County Commissioner, will continue to be a tough, independent and effective representative.

Next, for representation in House District 9, Cal Mukumoto will be a strong voice that is endorsed by education associations, union groups and community leaders that comes from years of experience working in various roles in the coastal community and throughout the state.

Right here in Florence, our city can move forward with Jo Beaudreau as the Mayor and two new Council members, Sally Wantz and Maggie Bagon. All three have the compassion, experience and energy to bring the community together, work together and make a difference in our daily lives.

I will be voting for these candidates, people who have stepped up to represent all of us, working for a better city, a better state and a better nation — a nation that will come together with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris leading the way.

Your vote is your voice.

—Beverly Sherrill

Florence

Remember the ‘Golden Rule’

Didn’t your mom ever tell you that there’s two sides to every story? Somewhere along the line that advice has gotten lost in our country.

We are in a very frustrating, stressful time in our country due to a number of very inflammatory situations. What bothers me most is that, for at least the last 10 years, the national news media has been telling one side of the story based on whatever side they support.

Rarely do you get information that conveys various sides. Don’t other people see this and how manipulated we as a public have become?

It’s no wonder we believe no one. We are being pushed and prodded to believe what the media wants us to believe, or to see what they want us to see on a 10- to12-second video that has been taken out of context.

Personally, I’m tired of it. I want to hear both sides of a story/situation. I really  don’t care who you support in the next election. Each of us has the right to support who we want.

The right we don’t have is to insult our fellow man or argue with them simply because you believe that your side is the only “correct” side. The minute you do that, you’ve lost the person who might be middle-of-the road.

If you’re on a committee, a board or other organization supporting your town, city, state or country, your job is to represent everyone; you’re the one that’s supposed to keep the clear head and listen to all sides and question your constituents about what the majority wants — not what you personally want.

Not every side or decision works for everyone. There will always be people who walk away disappointed, but that is the reality of  life. Each person’s opinion is based on their life experiences. Those of us who are older have witnessed more things, or  have traveled around the world seeing what life is like elsewhere.

Consequently, we have different opinions than the young folks, who are basing their perspective on limited life experience. It doesn’t mean that their opinions are any less valuable. It’s called finding common ground and, usually, that’s when the best decisions are reached.

What is scary to me are some of the interviews that are being held regarding defunding the police, eliminating guns, not prosecuting the people who have broken the law — and on and on.

Of course there are things that need changing or modifying in this country — there always has been and there always will be.

I’ll leave you with this, the “Golden Rule” of treat others like you want to be treated!

You’d be amazed at how nice life will be.

—Carol Salisbury

Florence

I applaud the mayor

As a past Florence City Councilor (1976 to 1984), I feel compelled to say this to the residents of Florence with reference to the upcoming elections for city office.

The Florence City Charter is the guiding document for how our city functions. The day-to-day operations are under the authority of the City Manager — and all departments, except the Judge, are under the City Manager’s guidance as dictated by the charter.

The City’s goals, and its “work plan and policies” — as set by the mayor and city council — are to be followed by the City Manager.  The mayor and the councilors are the face and pulse of our city.  The Charter states that to be elected to one of these positions, the person seeking the position must be a Florence City resident for at least one year.

The charter has no reference that the mayor and councilors shall be elected with reference to any party affiliation, or where they live in the city, so they are non-partisan and are sworn to represent all city residents and to oversee the City’s affairs.

That said, it has become obvious, that for some time now Mayor Joe Henry and the council have been pressured by some in the community — and by some councilors — to have the City move beyond its scope of City operation, per the charter.

I think this pressure by those individuals is and has been causing dissension and divide within our population and making it harder for the City to get its core work done.  The mayor appears to be doing all he can to discourage this partisan activity in a very sensible and by-the-book way, within the scope of power given him in the charter.

I applaud him for this.

We just need to keep on making this city the wonderful place it is.  Just look at what we have accomplished in the last few years under Mayor Henry’s leadership. Yes, we need to give Joe Henry two more years as our mayor and to make our city council a more cohesive body who will cherish working within the bounds of the City Charter.

For the benefit of all of our residents, I am casting my vote for the two open positions on the council for Bill Meyer and write-in Margaret Wisniewski.  I have read the information provided by all of the candidates, and based on the history provided by Bill and Margaret, I truly believe that these two are by far the best suited to lead our city into the future.

I have been here awhile, and I just call ‘em as I see ‘em, and I mean no offence to those I did not recommend.

—Delbert L. “Del” Phelps

Florence

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