Letters and Op-Eds

Welcome to the OFIR Letters and Op-Eds section.  Here you can read Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds that have been published in various newspapers and news sources.

Jerry Ritter

Wow. I just got an email from Sen. Jeff Merkley announcing that a bill he has introduced provides that “drug prices could be reduced by as much as 500%.”

 That’s curious math, about as believable as his countless claims that he’s “fighting” for American workers when he consistently opposes enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.

 Would he please explain to us how the flood of undocumented immigrants relieves our overcrowded schools, the lack of affordable housing, the gridlock on our highways, our strained social safety net, working class wage pressure and how it helps stem the flow of deadly narcotics brought into Oregon by foreign nationals?

Sen. Merkley’s frequent emails tell us that he’s fighting for this and fighting for that ad infinitum. Merkley blows his own horn so much he ought to join the symphony. But he has a “D” after his name and that’s what matters to most Oregon voters who will keep sending him back to office in perpetuity.


Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Portland Tribune

Your editorial of Sept. 3, "Lines our government shouldn't cross," omits mention of a third factor in the controversy over ICE agents' activities: You disregarded the interests of citizens in maintaining the sovereignty of our nation and sustaining a livable environment in the United States.

Open borders invite chaos; an orderly society is impossible without immigration controls that are enforced.

Did Andrade Tafolla, who, with the ACLU, is now suing the government for "humiliation," etc., ask ICE agents to show their identification, if none was immediately visible? It's hard to believe the agents had no ID or refused to show it.

Courts are one of the best places for ICE agents to arrest suspected illegal aliens, and safer for all involved. ICE agents by the nature of their work cannot always emblazon their ID on their clothes.

No one in or near a courthouse should feel insulted to be asked for identification, especially now that hundreds of migrants daily are attempting to crash the U.S. borders, with many succeeding. Immigration must be controlled if a nation is to survive.

Support ICE officers; don't harass them.

Karen Heuberger, Salem
The Oregonian (print edition)

The Oregonian's Sept. 22 editorial "Legislators, Stop cutting voters out" outlined some of the abuses of our Democratic supermajority Legislature. But your editorial omitted the egregious disdain for Oregon citizens who overwhelmingly voted in a 2014 ballot referendum (a daunting hurdle in itself) to reject granting drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.  Oregonians spoke loudly and clearly that we did not want this rammed down our throats by the 2013 Legislature. But the Democrats' supermajority gutted the will of the people and furthermore put an emergency clause in the bill to make it more difficult for Oregonians to vote on it.

Oregonians also overwhelmingly voted to put the kicker tax refund into our Constitution. But legislators have managed to undercut that with House Bill 2975. Voters rejected a sales tax in 2016 by voting against Measure 97. But the supermajority gave us an even worse sales tax in HB 3427.

The message from the Democratic legislators is:  "Shut up, obey, and pay your ever-increasing taxes. We know best - you don't. Your votes on these matters were mistakes."


Jerry Ritter
Eugene Weekly

I find it disingenuous of state Sen. James Manning to write that, “Our representative democracy only works with mutual trust” (“The Legislature’s Unfinished Business on Climate,” 8/29).

In what the Bend Bulletin called “a protracted expression of contempt for voters,” Manning and his Democrat colleagues � including all from Lane County � repeapeatedly violated that trust during the 2019 legislative session.

They did so when they revoked the voters’ two-to-one denial in 2014 of driver licenses for illegal immigrants (House Bill 2015), and Manning especially so as he carried the bill on the Senate floor.

They did so when they passed a multi-billion-dollar gross receipts tax (HB 3427) after voters said no in 2016; and when they sabotaged and killed the citizen referendum on that tax measure (HB 2164) in what The Oregonian called “blatant voter suppression.”

They did so when they made it more difficult for citizens to sign initiative and referendum petitions (Senate Bill 761), ignoring a massive amount of opposition testimony.

They did so when they continued to weaponize the “emergency clause” to prevent referenda. Democrats took multiple steps to suppress citizen challenges to their decisions
Space limits the examples. Oregon voters gave Democrats absolute power in 2018, but did they really bargain for this type of “representation?”  I respect Sen. Manning for his military service, but he and his Democrat colleagues showed us exactly what they thought of us.

Paul Jaudes, Salem
The Oregonian

In 1824, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests.

“In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves.”

Where stands Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney?

Most of Courtney’s fellow Democratic lawmakers support House Bill 2015, which would grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. This would overturn 2014’s Ballot Measure 88, with which Oregon voters defeated such licenses by a 2-to-1 ratio.

A recent Zogby Analytics poll showed that by 63% to 30%, voters continue to oppose illegal-immigrant driving privileges.

Courtney determines which bills reach his chamber’s floor. He should insist that if the Senate passes HB 2015, it be referred to the ballot for Oregonians’ vote. By doing so, he can show us where we Oregonians stand with him.


Don Giambersio, Klamath Falls
The Oregonian

The number of illegal immigrants the news reports tell us are coming into this country are those caught. How many are not being caught? And Congress does nothing about it! Why have a border? Why, for that matter, are we wasting all that money on TSA checks? If terrorists want to come in, all they have to do is go to the border. Probably already have.

We just celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Will there be enough real Americans left in this country to celebrate the 80th? Or will they be celebrating the fall of America, by the invasion Congress failed to stop? God bless America – please!


Richard F. LaMountain
The Oregonian

Excerpts only.

The keenest observation in the history of politics is that of English historian Lord John Acton: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Nowhere is that truth on fuller display than in the effort by Oregon Democrats -- now possessing supermajorities in the Legislature -- to nullify state voters' recent, overwhelming mandate against driving privileges for immigrants who are here illegally. …

But last year, via Ballot Measure 105, Oregon voters defeated an attempt to repeal the state's sanctuary law -- a result, unsurprisingly, that was construed broadly by apologists for illegal immigration. …

What's followed, predictably, is this: In the Legislature's 2019 session, almost every House Democrat has cosponsored Rep. Diego Hernandez's House Bill 2015, which would give Oregon's illegal immigrants the driving privileges Oregonians rejected decisively not a half-decade ago.

We encourage you to read the full article here.

Scott McGraw
Salem Statesman Journal

To our governor, and particularly our lawmakers holding supermajority power:

Our constitution and the laws enacted by the United States pursuant to it are the law of our entire country — U.S. Constitution, Article VI. Our legal representatives at both the state and federal levels have vowed to support our constitution.

Amendment 10 sets forth the ability of the states and the people to enact laws — which must not conflict with our constitution and federal laws enacted thereto. Article 9 states, as of Jan. 1, 1808, only federal lawmakers can make laws about immigration, and they have enacted such laws. The states and the people have the direct power to enact laws, so long as they do not conflict with our constitution. That is the 10th Amendment, completing our Bill of Rights.

Yet, our state and several of our cities have enacted laws granting sanctuary to illegal immigrants. And, while the people of Oregon promptly voted to overturn a recent Oregon driver license law, our governor and Legislature are working to again grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and also to further interfere with federal authorities regarding illegal immigrants coming before our courts. No means no. Listen!

From the Baker City Herald editorial board. The board consists of editor Jayson Jacoby and reporter Chris Collins.
Baker City Herald

We think Oregon voters should repeal the state’s 31-year-old “sanctuary” statute by approving Ballot Measure 105 on the Nov. 6 ballot.

That said, we’re not bothered by Baker County Sheriff Travis Ash’s decision to not join 16 of his 35 counterparts who signed a letter that urges voters to pass Measure 105. The letter was written by Clatsop County Sheriff Thomas J. Bergin.

In a written statement, Ash said he declined to sign Bergin’s letter because Bergin cited as an example the recent murder of Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa. The man charged with her murder apparently is a Mexican national living illegally in the U.S.

“I didn’t agree with using the Mollie Tibbetts family’s personal tragedy for political purposes,” Ash wrote, “especially without knowing how they felt about it.”

It seems that Tibbetts’ father, Rob, would not think much of Bergin’s letter. Rob Tibbets, while giving his daughter’s eulogy, said “the Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans.”

Ash didn’t take a position on whether he supports or opposes Measure 105.

But he said that whether or not voters approve the measure, “it will not affect the way we do business at the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.”

Ash, who also oversees the Baker County Jail, said his policy, which he says is consistent with Oregon’s current law, is to notify federal immigration officials if an inmate who is in jail on other charges is also suspected of being in the country illegally.

But Ash also wrote that such situations are “rare.”

That’s not necessarily the case, however, in some of Oregon’s more populous counties.

We agree with Knute Buehler, the Republican candidate for governor, who said he will vote for Measure 105 because he believes repealing the sanctuary law will eliminate confusion and potential discrepancies in how individual counties deal with illegal immigration issues.

Opponents of the measure contend its passage would encourage police to engage in the noxious tactic of racial profiling. But the 1987 “sanctuary” law is not the only bulwark against profiling. In 2015 Gov. Kate Brown signed a law — one we support — that creates a database of profiling complaints against police, and an independent task force to review those complaints.

Louis H. Bowerman
Portland Tribune

While reading the article "Mayor says Occupy ICE protests 'absolutely' made a difference" (July 31, 2018), I thought, really! Surely you jest.

As I continued to read the article, I turned on network news from New York and saw a different story. Piles of garbage were everywhere, posing an environmental nightmare, plus needles also were everywhere. And ICE faced an obvious threat from thugs; when they reportedly contacted the city for help, our mayor told police to stand down, which I found disturbing.

Since when do you distinguish between who you protect and who you don't, which left ICE officers in a bad place, which I find outrageous. They are federal officers doing a dangerous job and risking their lives every day. Each day, ICE has a job to do protecting us from criminals who enter this country illegally and pose a threat to all of us.

I am not opposed to immigration of anyone as long as it is done legally. However, I do not support anyone who enters this country illegally and expects certain rights and in some cities are allowed to vote when they are not here legally.

So, who paid the $12,000 to clean up all the garbage left by the demonstrators? City residents or demonstrators? What everyone saw on TV didn't paint the best picture of our beautiful city.