Opinion, Analysis, Discussion
Stand against political games
When it comes to the current county commissioner race, there’s only one candidate who will stand strong for Douglas County; who will stand strong for you. That candidate is Chris Boice.Learn more »
Letter: Ford’s Pond and surroundings in Sutherlin too beautiful to allow suspension of public accessOctober 31, 2014 —
Keep Ford’s Pond available
The 95-acre Ford’s Pond and more than 100 additional acres were purchased by the City of Sutherlin for the storage of filtered, treated Class A wastewater. The City Council has been reviewing all options, including storage of Class B/C treated wastewater. We believe the current Department of Environmental Quality and city approved plan for Class A wastewater is in the best interests of the Sutherlin community.Learn more »
Time to make tough choices
Chris Boice learned from life experiences. He now runs a successful business and donates time and dollars to his community.Learn more »
Kitzhaber not favored for vote
Kitzhaber’s re-election commercials say he has kept medical coverage down. In which state was that? It wasn’t in Oregon. So why did my prescription insurance increase by almost 80 percent in 2014 and for 2015 by another 60 percent. My supplemental insurance has increased each of the last two years. What about the $248 million and climbing Cover Oregon toilet flush of our tax dollars? Maybe he doesn’t factor that in.Learn more »
Letter: Candidate for Sutherlin city council speaks out for respect for all, transparency and fidelity to the lawsOctober 31, 2014 —
Need stability in city council
I have been watching, listening and reading about the actions and unprofessional behaviors of Sutherlin councilors Egbert and Meir, as well as Mayor Cameron. I’ve decided a positive change for stability is needed.Learn more »
New smokes law incomplete
After years of legislation, people who smoke tobacco cigarettes are very limited by where they can smoke. This is because of second-hand smoke and how it affects children, older people and people with allergies.Learn more »
Letter: Choose candidate with proven leadership and fiscal responsibility for Douglas County commissionerOctober 31, 2014 —
The best man for the job
Jeff Admire is my brother, my best friend and the most qualified candidate for Douglas County commissioner.Learn more »
If there is a recent, feel-good story it surely rests in the local work by the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation.
The foundation awarded a $350,000 grant to the Family Development Center of Roseburg and $85,000 to the SMART reading program in Douglas County.Learn more »
A fine balance is necessary
An Oct. 8 article about students snorkeling with stream ecologist Charley Dewberry in Canton Creek (Youth Collect Data from Canton Creek and Gain Work Experience) was a great example of how our public lands support healthy fish populations and clean water, as well as children and education.Learn more »
Leif gets the job done right
Gary Leif came into our lives almost 17 years ago. Gary has been amazing to my mother, Carol. He treats her like a princess, even now.Learn more »
Vote Leif for commissioner
My father, Gary Leif, will be one of the best county commissioners you could ever vote in. I’ve never seen anyone work harder and have more support from the community than my dad.Learn more »
He represents the people
I have known Bob Cotterell for more than 30 years. First, it was through his work with the Roseburg Police Department, later while he served on various volunteer boards in support of our community, and now as a member of the Roseburg City Council.Learn more »
Let Boice work for our county
The duty of our Douglas County residents is upon us. I can think of no better than Chris Boice for county commissioner and here is why: character.Learn more »
Call to re-elect Kaser to Ward 4
With elections coming up, I’d like to publicly thank Steve Kaser for a great job on behalf of Ward 4. I’ve been to many city council meetings and been impressed with his common sense approach and how he speaks with a voice of reason on complex issues.Learn more »
Boice has the grit to serve
Proud to have been born and raised in Douglas County, I’ve served the public most of my adult life. After high school, I joined the 186th Infantry, then the Sutherlin Police Department, then became an Oregon State Police trooper. My wife and I built a real estate brokerage business. I’ve spent many years around Douglas County residents and know quality people when I meet them.Learn more »
Choose a true public servant
Why Chris Boice is my choice for county commissioner?Learn more »
Atherton favors wage increase
At the League of Women Voters debate between Oregon House District 2 candidates Dallas Heard and Kerry Atherton, I saw a clear choice for working families.Learn more »
Boice: courage under fire
In the spring of 2013, there was a tremendous lightning storm. We watched in wonder as lightning crashed around our house.Learn more »
Alternative to dump fee
Why not write an editorial regarding a property tax measure that is an alternative to a dump fee? We all have garbage, so everyone would be paying their fair share through a property tax. Even renters who pay their landlords would contribute, because it is already factored into their rent. These funds could also be used to prepare a new dump site in the future, by setting aside excess funds. This would solve the future crisis by having funds already in hand.Learn more »
Letter: Strong business background will help Douglas County commissioner candidateOctober 29, 2014 —
Bringing fresh ideas to the job
I am writing this letter in support of Chris Boice as our next Douglas County commissioner.
As a small business owner myself, I know how much time, effort and persistence is required for a small business to succeed, grow and flourish. With Chris’ business experience, I know he can bring that acumen to government, which is very much needed.
There is a tremendous amount of waste and inefficiency in all levels of government that can be helped by people with a strong business background like Chris Boice. Chris will bring fresh new ideas to the county commissioners office that will help Douglas County deal with its difficult financial situation and budget deficit. In addition, Chris’ idea of a more open and transparent government will benefit every constituent in Douglas County.
Doug Robertson served this county well for many years and he will be hard to replace. I feel Chris Boice is the man with the qualifications to fill Doug’s shoes and move the county forward to the next level.
Letter: Elect a Douglas County commissioner who will stand up for what’s rightOctober 29, 2014 —
Good values for commissioner
Folks, Gary Leif is the best candidate for Douglas County commissioner.
I am a board member of Save the Riders Dunes, a nonprofit organization fighting the Forest Service over closing off the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and hurting our coastal communities financial well-being. The ODNRA brings in more than $80 million to the coast and way more than that to Oregon.
Gary is a board member, too, and has dedicated many hours and many dollars out of his own pocket to stop silly federal rules. We spent many hours at the University of Oregon library getting old maps of the dunes and comparing them to current Google Maps, and the destruction of the open sand is clear as a bell. The Forest Service can no longer hide behind closures. They must look at the entire ODNRA and begin the work of restoring open sand.
Gary is honest and a hard worker. I know he will continue those values as our new Douglas County commissioner!
Letter: Roseburg mayor; thoughtful interaction with othersOctober 29, 2014 —
Continue the good work
It is not my style to write letters to the editor, but I want to share my feelings with the citizens of Roseburg. I hope they join me in voting for the re-election of Larry Rich as our mayor.
I have known Larry for a long time and there is no one I know who can take the pressure off a heated disagreement with a cool, calm, thoughtful response better than he can. This is just one reason we need him working on our behalf at the city level.
Larry Rich continues to be invested in developing citizen-centered opportunities in our community. He has long been a strong advocate for our well-trained and professionally equipped police and fire departments. Larry has worked to support development of our downtown area and the new infrastructure due to begin in 2015 (including the development of the downtown waterfront).
We don’t need a change in leadership. We need to continue to support Larry in the many ways he is already serving our community as Roseburg mayor.
Re-elect Larry Rich!
Letter: Who can best serve the taxpayers by serving on the Roseburg city council?October 29, 2014 —
Cotterell can represent us
Having known and worked with Bob Cotterell for many years, I can’t think of a better, more reliable person to represent you on the Roseburg City Council.
Bob has served in the public sector for many years, and has always been there when called on. I was there many years ago when Bob was shot while protecting and defending the citizens of Roseburg. Bob never quit, but went right back to work and continued his career.
Please vote for the person who cares, and can best serve the Roseburg taxpayers.
That person is my choice, and I hope yours: Bob Cotterell.
Letter: Elect a Roseburg mayor who facilitates transparencey to city council decisionsOctober 29, 2014 —
Vote for Larry Rich for mayor
I am writing in support of the re-election of Larry Rich as Roseburg’s mayor. Having known Larry personally and having worked with him professionally for many years, I can attest to his many strengths.
Larry has a proven record of having produced results during his tenure as mayor, undoubtedly due to his ability to listen to different viewpoints and lead opposing sides to compromises. Additionally, he follows through with projects and ideas, is active within the community, and provides transparency to the city council’s decisions through continuous updates to Roseburg’s residents.
These are qualities of fine leadership that I wholeheartedly endorse and I encourage others to join me in Larry Rich’s re-election.
Letter: Multi-talented skillset is useful for Douglas County commissioner candidateOctober 29, 2014 —
Leif will do his best for you
Many years ago, a familiar face in Douglas County stepped into my life and my childrens’ lives. His name is Gary Leif. From the moment he became a part of our family he has been a wonderful husband to my mother, a devoted father to his son, a loving and giving stepfather and grandfather to two daughters and six grandchildren.
Every day he does for others, helps and assists and guides others. He is my stepfather and the only grandfather my children have known on my side of the family. He stepped into this role willingly and unconditionally and is loved dearly by our entire family.
I believe Gary Leif is the best choice for county commissioner for many reasons. He is caring, giving, makes sacrifices, donates his time and money to help others and is talented and educated in many different areas.
Vote Gary Leif for Douglas County commissioner; he is the right person for the job. He devotes his best to our family and he will devote his best to our community. You will not be disappointed with Gary Leif as commissioner!
Letter: Douglas County commissioner can help people make a differenceOctober 29, 2014 —
He’s dedicated to our county
When I met my husband 17 years ago, he told me, “One day in the future I will run for public office.” Over the next 17 years Gary Leif has dedicated a big portion of his time to people and organizations throughout Douglas County that do wonderful things for the county.
Gary is not only an amazing, giving and humble person, but a man who truly wants to help people and make Douglas County an even better place to live.
Over and over, I have seen Gary help people who don’t know how to fight the system and come out to a positive outcome. You will never hear him brag about these things, and yet he always seems to help people make a difference.
Even though our kids are all grown with families of their own, Gary is always there to give a helping hand if they need it. We have a wonderful family that loves to go camping, riding four-wheelers at the coast, crabbing, and hiking up the North Umpqua. We make memories with our loved ones.
I have never seen Gary turn anyone away who is asking for help fighting bureaucracy.
We are a Christian family that centers our life around God and this is passed down to our children, who have the same values.
I have watched my husband study and work hard and he will, by far, be one of our best county commissioners. Gary Leif is not only the best choice for Douglas County commissioner, he is the right choice.
Letter: Douglas County commissioners must make hard decisions to help their communitiesOctober 29, 2014 —
Chris Boice is my choice
Over the last several years I have gotten to know Chris Boice, both as a customer at Big O Tires and as a personal friend. The friendship came first in the form of some fishing and hunting excursions. As I got to know Chris better, I saw in him a man of integrity, honesty, helpfulness, and with values and principles that are much needed in today’s society.
Chris started out from the bottom and worked his way up in the tire industry to be an owner of a business. I am sure there were some very tough times starting out, as was pointed out by our liberal newspaper bringing up the bankruptcy issue. And yes, as quoted by one of the candidates as being “absolutely” pertinent, I couldn’t agree more. Only I look at this as the old saying goes, as a “glass half full,” instead of a “glass half empty.” Chris made it through the bankruptcy issue, learned from it and most importantly, has an established, viable, successful local business with an excellent reputation. It may be pertinent, but what has happened after that is what counts.
Chris has the experience of making hard decisions, gathering consensus, listening to the public, etc., that are necessary as a county commissioner, along with the values and principles we all expect from that position. Chris comes to the job with fresh new perspectives and ideas and a willingness to work with the other two commissioners at a very critical time in our county’s history.
Please join me and make Boice your choice for Douglas County commissioner.
Letter: Promote entrepreneurship with vote for Oregon House District 2 candidateOctober 29, 2014 —
Elect Heard for House Dist. 2
Lucky me, I live in House District 2 and so my vote will help send Dallas Heard to the Oregon legislature.
In direct contrast to his opponent, Dallas espouses lower taxes and less fees and regulations, in the spirit of promoting entrepreneurship and business in Oregon.
We don’t need more government programs or taxes. We need more representation by business savvy folks like Dallas Heard.
Join me in sending Dallas to Salem. Vote for Dallas Heard, House District 2.
Guest column: Douglas County deserves to have good governanceOctober 28, 2014 —
There are many issues of importance to residents of Douglas County. Some have polarized neighbors, some have united neighbors, and some make neighbors agree to disagree; however, the desire for better government is an issue that unites us all.
The term used by some is good governance. Although the phrase may be awkward, it simply means a series of behaviors that are needed to make sure our representative democracy works according to our constitutional principles. According to experts, basic characteristics of good governance include: accountability, transparency, responsiveness, equitability, inclusiveness, is effective, efficient, and follows the rule of law. All our public officials should be committed to these principles. The people of our county deserve nothing less.
On the campaign trail, people bring up the various aspects of good governance, over and over again. It seems that no matter what one’s overall political persuasion, everyone wants good governance. I have learned no matter what one believes about stopping the LNG pipeline, timber harvest on O&C Lands, legalization of marijuana, homelessness, affordable housing, or living wage jobs, everyone wants good governance.
So, what does this really look like?
First and foremost good governance requires transparency and accountability. Those in public service are accountable to all of us. They have an obligation to provide information and explain what they are doing on our behalf. They also have an obligation to willingly answer for the decisions they make and take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. However, without transparency there is no accountability.
Transparency requires that important decisions and the records of these decisions be open to the public. Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 192, which is referred to as Oregon Open Records and Meetings Law, states that our form of government “requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made.” Further “It is the intent” of the law “that decisions of governing bodies be arrived at openly” (ORS 192.620). Not only is this the law, but it is an integral part of good governance. Everyone should be able to know how decisions are made and why. This requires letting the public know what information, evidence and advice was used to come to a decision, as well as any legal requirements involved.
Transparency also requires access to public records. Today it is easier than ever for public records to be readily available to any citizen who wants them. With the ease of Internet use, public records can be just a click away, providing quick access to information about all divisions and departments of county government, and other aspects of county business. Using technology not only increases public access to public records, it is efficient and very cost effective, too.
We all benefit when government is operated efficiently and effectively. Although this might sound like a simple premise, when it comes to how best to provide the essential functions of local government, it is not always a simple task when we must deal with complex social problems and competing demands with insufficient resources. However, good governance requires that we provide needed public services within a timely manner at the lowest cost. This requires identifying community priorities and maximizing resources to meet them, all the while being responsive to competing interests and demands.
Good governance requires leaders who understand that their job is to do their best to serve the needs of the entire community. When unable to do so, they still must be responsive to opposing concerns. This requires county commissioners who embrace the difficult task of making sure that the process is inclusive and provides equal access to everyone when it comes to county programs, services and public officials. Everyone should be given the opportunity to be part of the decision making process, including being asked to serve on boards and commissions.
Lastly good governance requires following the rule of law. Douglas County commissioners, like all public officials in Oregon, take an oath of office that requires them to follow the Constitutions of the U.S. and the state of Oregon. As subdivisions of the state, county government and their officials are also required to follow any duly enacted laws of our state. Although we have a lot of local control and our county commissioners can make laws (ordinances) on a variety of things, they cannot run afoul of any applicable state or federal laws. Ultimately, the responsibility of a county commissioner is to be the local guardian of our Constitutional rights and to make sure that any laws passed or implemented here do not violate them.
Good governance is complex, time consuming and may seem daunting, but the voters of Douglas County deserve nothing less.
Rita Harris is a fifth-generation Douglas County resident running for Douglas County commissioner. A mother of four, she holds a master’s degree in education technology, which she earned after getting her GED at Umpqua Community College. You can reach her at VoteforRita@gmail.com or 541-375-0063.