The election is just around the corner — Nov. 8 — and our readers have a lot to say about it. This batch of online-only letters covers everything midterms, from endorsements to criticisms of candidates.
VOTE GRACEFULLY IN NOVEMBER
While we’re more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, only about 26 percent of elected offices are held by women. This must change.
I’m excited to see so many qualified, hard working women of integrity running to serve Lane County up and down the ballot this November.
Some names may be familiar to you: Val Hoyle for Congress, Tina Kotek for governor, Christina Stephenson for labor commissioner, Reps. Julie Fahey and Nancy Nathanson running for re-election to the state Legislature, and Dawn Lesley for the West Lane County commissioner seat. I have great admiration, trust and respect for these dynamic leaders. They will help make progress on the critical issues of our time including addressing our dual housing and homelessness crises, supporting emergency preparedness, passing policies to mitigate climate chaos, standing with workers, and protecting access to healthcare.
One woman folks may not know is Judge Beatrice Grace, currently serving on the bench in Lane County Circuit Court. She was appointed after a long and rigorous vetting process from local legal community peers.
Judge Grace’s personal lived experience as a single mom, coupled with her legal and judicial expertise plus two decades of service as an ER nurse, demonstrates she has the qualifications and temperament to excel as a judge who makes tough decisions on a case-by-case basis. Her background as a champion for patients’ rights and ability to remain fair, balanced and impartial is what we need in a Lane County judge. Let’s retain Judge Grace on Nov. 8.
REMEMBER UKRAINE WHEN YOU VOTE
I would like to share a message from a Ukrainian friend living in Kyiv. She is still a beginner in the English language but the courage and solidarity of the Ukrainian people are conveyed through her emails:
This week was very crazy. We often without light or water. Yesterday, was new attack, rockets flew under our house. At this moment my friend went to the work and he saw rockets under. And when we sat all day without light and connection, with candles.
Yes, I was at dance. And were aren’t light too =) But we danced with light from telefone and it was very atmosphere. I sending you 2 video from our dance without light. -A
The journalist, George Packer, recently returned from Ukraine. One of his observations struck me: “I needed a few days to realize why a Ukrainian city felt somehow less tense than an American one,” he said. “It is because you knew no Ukrainian was going to shoot you, and everyone you met was on the same side.”
It breaks my heart that some Americans care so little for democracy that they support Putin, a brutal imperialist and a war criminal, while they denounce fellow Americans who belong to a political party different from their own. It is disheartening to see the bonds of trust so totally shredded in this mixed up country.
I hope that as people vote this election, they remember Ukraine, where people are risking everything for the right to chart their destiny.
VOTE LIKE IT MATTERS
If you’re a Democrat and you live in a blue state like Oregon, you may think your vote isn’t necessary because Democratic candidates will get elected anyway. And this might be true.
But even so, I think of voting as a sacred act. I don’t believe in karma, but when I vote, I have an image in my head of that (small d) democratic energy going out into the universe. It joins with others’ votes to feed a wave of voter participation across the country in states where democracy is threatened by voter suppression, intimidation and disenfranchisement. It goes out to places where votes are desperately needed.
I’m not religious, but when Rev. Raphael Warnock says “Voting is like a prayer,” it resonates deep in my bones. All my wishes and hopes for a kind and just society are sealed up in my ballot envelope.
Vote like democracy is your religion.
ASHLEY PELTON FOR STATE SENATE
Divisive politics has weakened and divided rural communities, but rural issues are not Left and Right issues. Water insecurity in Sodaville, unsafe sidewalks in Brownsville, empty storefronts in Sweet Home, land planning issues in Blue River/Vida, and inadequate evacuation routes in Oakridge; Ashley Pelton is focused on what matters to all residents of Senate District 6.
Why elect Pelton? She is a social worker who lives with her husband and son in the unincorporated Cottage Grove area. The daughter of a retired law enforcement officer and war veteran, she learned firsthand the challenges of connecting people to mental health resources. Pelton is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) with experience listening to people and translating their needs into equitable legislation and policy.
Oregon needs more social workers in Salem. Social workers are the No. 1 providers of behavioral health in Oregon. The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. At a time when Oregon is experiencing a behavioral health workforce crisis, we need lawmakers who bring real-world experience and expertise in behavioral health.
You can learn more about Pelton and her race by visiting her website AshleyPelton.com.
Daniel Altamirano Hernandez
THE REAL PROBLEM IS WITH VOTERS
How can a politician running for office be so lacking in understanding the process of which they are a part? I am irritated each time I hear Christine Drazan rail against politicians who are rotten and who have been in office too long and need to be replaced. I wonder if she realizes that the rottenness she alludes to is actually voters, whose numbers have been powerful enough, and who are presumably smart enough, to back the individual who they trust to do the necessary work, and who continue to make the required efforts, even though it may be an unrelenting and thankless job.
How useless are promises of lower taxes and better roads, as if we are so desperate, simply to win, that we are willing to believe this contradiction could really, really be true. And please, to anyone who will listen: Homelessness will not be solved or eradicated from the level of the streets, among those who need shoes and a blanket and a warm place to sleep. That is not where the problem exists.
The real truth for these people is that there is no shelter, and no one with the guts, to bring back homes to those without. I don’t mean you, Gov. Kate Brown. You have done a lot to shake the complacency of narrow and rigid minds, and a lot to soothe the hearts of many families of people who are in need of a soft touch. Thank you. Your risks are much appreciated.
DON’T PAY FOR SIDEWALKS AND BIKE PATHS
Seldom do Eugene residents get an opportunity to lower their annual property taxes. Eugene residents will get a chance to do just that if they vote “no” on Ballot Measure 20-333, a $61.2 million request for funding street repairs.
I have no problem with maintaining city streets, but the city is now siphoning funding away from street repairs to satisfy special interest groups by using bond money to construct walking and bike paths. When this program began in 2008 the buzz words were “curb to curb” street repairs. Now only 75 percent of the funding is expected to be spent on road and street repairs.
Eugene taxpayers deserve a break these days; pausing this street repair program for the next five years won’t cause massive harm and would give city residents a much-needed financial break. The city will still receive $3 million a year for street and road repairs through local gas taxes.
Residents in Ward 7 recently voted to recall a sitting council member, proving that voters still have control over what the city council does and how they choose to spend city tax money.
Please join me in voting “no” on Ballot measure 20-333 on Nov. 8.
CITY COUNCILORS MUM TO VOTERS
I am extremely disappointed that three of the four candidates for Eugene City Council chose not to publish personal statements in the Eugene Voters’ Pamphlet. While I recognize that all four candidates are unopposed and thus guaranteed re-election, Alan Zelenka (who represents my ward), Mike Clark and Greg Evans should have demonstrated the courtesy of offering voters some inkling of their overall policy preferences, their fundamental governing values and their respective agendas.
To her credit, only Jennifer Yeh (Ward 3) was willing to spend the $100 needed to include a candidate’s statement in the Voters’ Pamphlet. While not particularly detailed, Yeh at least provided some basic outlines of her priorities on housing and homelessness, climate change and public safety. Maybe Zelenka, Clark and Evans believe their very safe council seats mean they no longer have to keep Eugene voters fully informed about their thinking?
Moreover, the recent recall of Councilor Claire Syrett (Ward 7) raised numerous issues, both substantive and procedural. The Voters’ Pamphlet offered all four incumbents up for re-election a perfect chance to weigh in on some or all of those issues. For example, do they support the mass transit extension that was the supposed rationale for Syrett’s recall? Do they believe the recall process is fair or, alternatively, is subject to abuse? Do they fear being recalled themselves (as some have suggested is the recall petitioners’ next objective)? To completely ignore the many questions raised by the recall speaks volumes, and is certainly no profile in courage.
Keith A. Eddins
DON’T CHARGE TAXPAYERS TWICE
I am supportive of the Measure 20-335, the Lane County Parks levy, with a condition.
Should this measure pass, the county should make sure that all homeowners (who will be paying the higher taxes each year) have free access to the Lane County parks. If we are having to pay the taxes to improve our parks, we shouldn’t be charged separately for use of the county parks. The property tax bills keep going up and up each year. With high inflation, higher prices and higher property taxes, people on fixed income would definitely feel the pinch.
You can simply include the annual parks pass with the property tax bill you send to the homeowners. If the county can’t make the access to parks free for all Lane County homeowners, at least it should be free for senior citizens in the county.
GIVE THE GOP A CHANCE IN OREGON
In my 2022 Voters’ Pamphlet, Tina Kotek says, “Oregon is facing major challenges — homelessness, crime, addiction, skyrocketing costs and wildfires.”
Oregon hasn’t had a Republican governor in 35 years, and what do we have to show for it? Homelessness, crime, addiction, skyrocketing costs and wildfires. The wildfires, I will acknowledge, are no one’s fault most of the time, but the handling of our forests at the hands of Democrats and environmentalists is a disaster and only contributes to the problem.
As for the other issues, if Democrat leadership hasn’t improved anything in 35 years (and it hasn’t), why on earth would anyone vote for a Democrat yet again? I am not even saying Christine Drazan is the candidate with all the answers, but fu%^ me, I would vote for absolutely anybody before I would vote for Kotek. It is a laughable tragedy that many Oregonians will dutifully shrug their shoulders, look down at their feet and whimper, “Well, maybe this time…” while their businesses are shuttered, another tent village goes up and another 15 blocks of Portland is burned to the ground.
VOTE FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT
It’s clear from your fawning praise of Sen. Ron Wyden that you didn’t really look at the other candidates. Certainly you never contacted me, and I think your readers should know.
If you had, I’d have reminded you that one of Wyden’s first votes as senator was to pass the AUMF that launched the invasion of Afghanistan and the ongoing war on terror. He supported regime change efforts in Syria, sponsored a bill to suppress the BDS movement and spent years stoking the tensions with Russia that led to the current phase of the Ukraine war and its devastating consequences to our own economy.
My candidacy is about dismantling the rule of the corporate-military elite, stopping inflation, ending the war on drugs, and so much more you’ll never get from a Democrat or a Republican. I’d like to invite your readers to visit DanForSenate.org and find out for themselves, instead of relying on the opinion of a free paper. Free yourselves from the two-party system!
Pacific Green candidate for U.S. Senate
Editor’s note: Dan Pulju didn’t reach out to the editorial board for an interview. More importantly, as the stances he has posted his campaign website shows him to be anti-vaxx and a 2020 election denier, we knew he would not get our endorsement. Also, we’re deeply unclear how the fact EW is free is a bad thing?
NO, THE DMV DOESN’T BACK SKARLATOS
For the past three weeks in my mailbox, I’ve found campaign flyers for Alek Skarlatos printed with an Oregon license plate image. How misleading and deceptive, I thought. So I wrote to the Oregon Department of Transportation and received the following reply from the administrator of Oregon’s DMV: “We take very seriously assertions of inappropriate use of plate images. The candidate did not seek permission from ODOT-DMV to use the image of the tree in their campaign; we do not endorse any candidate.”
So what were you thinking, Alek? That the voters would believe the state of Oregon was supporting your candidacy or that you are a logger? A tree farmer? A tree hugger? Oh, my.
Once again, the GOP (Got nO Plan party) is propping up Skarlatos, another weak, inexperienced repeat candidate for the 4th District Congressional seat, the heir apparent to the also-ran and ranting Art Robinson.
Nowhere on any of his campaign literature does Skarlatos share what he does for a living or any well reasoned, thoughtful political positions on women’s health care, including abortion rights, education, immigration and workers’ rights. Instead, I see three words: Veteran Hero Oregonian. Duh! I assumed he was an Oregonian since he’s running for office in Oregon.
To fill out his thin resume, I suggest Skarlatos add that he placed third in Dancing With the Stars, acted in a B movie, and is supported by right-wing super PAC money.
Dr. Oz, Herschel Walker, J.D. Vance, Kari Lake, Alek Skarlatos — no-experience election deniers who have trouble with the truth. We deserve better than this. Vote Hoyle.
EXPERIENCE AND CHARACTER MATTER
Alek Skarlatos is running for 4th district congressional representative. Skarlatos is famous because he and three other people disarmed a gunman on a Paris-bound train and was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars. He has a high school diploma but no college degrees. His websites list no occupation. He has never held a public office. He did train and serve in the Army National Guard. He demonstrated his lack of character by taking back $65,000 in leftover campaign funds he donated to the 15:17 Trust for veterans.
His opponent, Val Hoyle, has a BA degree and 25 years’ experience in domestic and international marketing. Hoyle served as state representative and is currently Oregon’s Labor Commissioner. As state representative Hoyle was instrumental in locating an Oregon state psychiatric hospital in Junction City, providing jobs and growth in Junction City and greatly needed psychiatric treatment for Lane County. As Labor Commissioner, Hoyle supported raising the minimum wage and expanding job training and apprenticeships.
Being a congressional representative is not an entry level job suitable for someone with Skarlatos’ minimal education and lack of experience. Hoyle has the education and experience to represent the 4th congressional district.
WHAT THE GOP IS COSTING US
What’s at stake is the undermining and destruction of our public schools, democracy and American values as a result of MAGA Trump Republicans’ selfish hypocrisy and uncaring cruelty.
One percent of Americans control and/or own 95 percent of our national resources. They have the power, not the American people, and they use this power and influence to censor the media, lie, restrict vital information and other factors that may hinder their profits. It seems that many of this one percent align themselves with the extreme Republicans.
So, these Republicans in Congress as well as in state governments endorse anti-abortion legislation and support pro-life. However, the budget reductions they propose show little concern for the welfare of children once born.
One in five children — some 15 million — in the U.S. live in poverty, many homeless and hungry. That’s an increase of 22 percent since 1979 in the wealthiest nation in the world. American children are more likely to die in the first five years of life than children in 18 other nations.
The Republicans organize and orchestrate fabricated repetitious propaganda, attacks on unions, public employees, women’s rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, parental care, science, public broadcasting and so on. Examples of the rich and powerful caring for themselves.
This is the Republican agenda, one that Christine Drazan and Alek Skarlatos endorse, one that the liar and traitor Trump pushes.
VOTERS DO HAVE MEMORIES
It’s always interesting to see what candidates change their positions on, or what they don’t want to reveal.
Two candidates seem very interested in doing these things. Christine Drazan blames Tina Kotek, Gov. Kate Brown and Betsy Johnson for all of the problems she sees in our state. Yet, Drazan was the minority leader who led Republican walk-outs to make it impossible for any legislation to pass at the end of our last several Senate and Congressional sessions.
More than climate change legislation was never brought to a vote as a result. She also has been very clear that all abortions should be outlawed, saying that no child should die from medical procedures — only natural causes. Natural causes for her must include school shootings, as she opposes any gun control legislation.
Then there’s Alex Skarlatos, who has made speeches for years saying Roe v. Wade should be revoked, but now claims he’s all for women’s reproductive rights. He also is not telling voters that he thinks the minimum wage should be repealed, as he stressed last election.
Both candidates must hope voters paid no attention to what they said and did in the recent past.