Letters and Op-Eds

Keith O. Comstock
The Register Guard

The Dec. 8 column by Michael Rooke-Ley linking racism to the political climate was exhibit A for the fact that not all bigots wear white hoods and burn crosses, but they do see everything based on race, not based on circumstances, facts or outcomes (“Today’s divisive political climate has racism at its heart”). In the liberal bigot’s mind, if you’re an “old white (Christian) guy (or woman),” as were our founders, you’re automatically a racist.

And if you’re opposed to Obamacare it’s because you don’t like the first black president, not because it costs too much, was sold on lies and takes away choice, or because it requires young healthy people to subsidize the program for people that are older or have made unhealthy lifestyle choices.

If you believe our borders should be respected and illegal immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to take jobs away from Americans, it’s because you’re a racist.

If you believe voters’ ID should be verified — as required when you get a driver’s license, check into a motel, apply for a credit card or attend a Democratic National Convention — it’s because you want to deny minorities the right to vote, according to Rooke-Ley.

Liberal bigots have proven time and again that words don’t need a truthful basis and I found Rooke-Ley’s opening paragraph more than suspect in that regard. But hey, if the president can lie about Obamacare and his many scandals, what’s a little literary license in an opinion piece?

Keith O. Comstock

Myrtle Point

Sandra Duncan
The World

This is really interesting. Oklahoma is the only state where Obama did not win even one county in the last election. While everyone is focusing on Arizona’s new law, look what Oklahoma has been doing!

Oklahoma passed, 37 to 9, an amendment to place the 10 commandments on the front entrance to the state capitol. The feds in D.C., along with the ACLU, said it would be a mistake. Hey, this is a conservative state based on Christian values! (HB 1330) Guess what ... Oklahoma did it anyway.

Oklahoma recently passed a law to incarcerate all illegal immigrants and ship them back to where they came from, unless they want to get a greencard and become an American citizen. They all scattered. (HB 1804). This was against the advice of the federal government and the ACLU; they said it would be a mistake. Guess what ... Oklahoma did it anyway.

Recently, they passed a law to include DNA samples from any and all illegals to the Oklahoma database, for criminal investigative purposes. Pelosi said it was unconstitutional. (SB 1102) Guess what ... Oklahoma did it anyway.

Several weeks ago, they passed a law declaring Oklahoma as a sovereign state, not under the federal government directives. Joining Texas, Montana and Utah as the only states to do so. More states are likely to follow: Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, both Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi and Florida. (HJR1003).

The federal government has taken bold steps to take away our guns. Oklahoma, a week ago, passed a law confirming that people in that state have the right to bear arms and transport them in their vehicles. I'm sure that was a setback for the criminals. The Liberals didn't like it. But ... guess what ... Oklahoma did it anyway.

Just this month, the state voted and passed a law that all drivers license exams will be printed in English, and only English, and no other language. They have been called racist for doing this, but the fact is that all of the road signs are in English only. If you want to drive in Oklahoma, you must read and write English. Really simple. I wish Oregon would follow suit!

Sandra Duncan

North Bend

George Stastny

In response to the Viewpoints cover on “Should Oregon offer driver cards to undocumented immigrants?” (News-Register, Nov. 15), I believe the United States is becoming the “land of opportunity” for criminals.

When are we going to wake up? Breaking our immigration laws is one of the worst crimes in this country. The people who are here illegally are therefore criminals, and we should not be feeding them, educating them, medicating them or giving them driving privileges.

If our economy needs seasonal workers from Mexico, we should establish our immigration offices in Mexico, staffed with honest Americans who issue entrance and work permits for the season. These workers should be screened to make sure we know who they are, whether they are qualified and whether they are pregnant. They should be fingerprinted, like everyone else who comes into our country, and carry proper documentation.

After their term ends, they should return to where they came from. Their efforts would be appreciated, they would be respected, and everybody would be happy.

I am a legal immigrant myself, having gone through the required steps to come to this country in 1980. I never complained or asked for special privileges or exceptions.

I was always a productive citizen and proud of it. I learned English as fast as I could and became a U.S. citizen as soon as I could. Some of my very best friends are from Mexico — all here legally. I feel my proposal would be a better alternative to having millions of criminals running around, hiding, lying, demanding, protesting and demonstrating.

In answer to the posed question of driver cards, we should not issue them. For those “undocumented individuals” who are here illegally and on the job, they should be riding with someone who has a valid Oregon driver’s license.

George Stastny


Elizabeth Van Staaveren
News-Register, McMinnville OR

In considering the question, should illegal aliens be given official driver cards by the state government, advocates are trying to channel discussion primarily to matters of traffic or road safety. However, road safety is a phony issue. It’s a screen to hide the real issue, which is the hiring of illegal labor.

Illegal hiring is profitable to employers because they can pay substandard wages and pass on to the public the costs of providing subsidized housing, subsidized medical care, subsidized schooling and other services that would be unnecessary if adequate wages were paid and working conditions fair. The cost of illegal immigration to Oregon taxpayers has been conservatively estimated at $1 billion annually.

Besides the fiscal costs, there is another danger: the toleration of illegal hiring contributes to a culture of corruption that undermines our democracy. It also causes wage depression and forces citizens to compete with illegal aliens for jobs, a terrible injustice.

There are visa programs available to employers for seasonal and other special needs, including the H-2A visa for agriculture, through which employers can hire foreign workers legally if they pay prevailing wages and provide decent working conditions. Honest employers use these programs and don’t try to cheat.

Employers can’t claim they have no way to tell whether the people they hire are illegal aliens. The free federal E-Verify program has been in successful operation for more than 10 years; nearly half a million honest, patriotic employers use it now to check the legal status of new hires.

It’s ridiculous to tout road safety as an excuse to employ illegal aliens, and advocates can’t even prove that granting driver cards to illegal aliens would improve road safety.


David Olen Cross

After reading the Nov. 15 point / counter-point opinion pieces in the News-Register titled “Should Oregon offer driver cards to undocumented immigrants?” it appears to me Oregonians may need a short history lesson on undocumented driving in the state.

Senate Bill 833, passed by the Oregon Legislature and signed into law on May 1 by Gov. John Kitzhaber, will undermine Senate Bill 1080, legislation passed in 2008 that requires legal presence in the state to obtain an Oregon driver’s license.

Ever since the passage of SB 1080, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles has been required by Oregon law (House Bill 3624) to provide an annual report on the number of persons driving without licenses or insurance.

In a report filed on Jan. 1, DMV Administrator Tom McClellan declared: “Four years after implementing a legal-presence requirement in Oregon, changes in driver licensing requirements have not had a major impact on the rate of unlicensed and uninsured driving.”

Answer to the history lesson: Since the passage of SB 1080, there is no documentation available to tell us whether more people legally or not legally present in the state are driving unlicensed and uninsured.

Oregonians should realize by now that there was no real justification for the legislature and governor to make SB 833 state law this year, a law allowing those without documentation to obtain access to an ersatz-driver’s license called a driver card.

Oregon registered voters concerned about the real public safety of the residents of the state should reject the misguided idea that issuing driver cards to the undocumented will make driving on the state’s roads safer. They should vote no on SB 833, referendum 301, when the issue is placed before them in 2014.

David Olen Cross, Salem

David Olen Cross
The Bulletin

Senate Bill 833, passed by the Oregon Legislature and signed into law on May 1 by Gov. John Kitzhaber will undermine Senate Bill 1080, legislation passed in 2008 that requires legal presence in the state to obtain an Oregon driver’s license.

Ever since the passage of SB 1080, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles has been required by Oregon law (House Bill 3624) to provide an annual report on the number of persons driving without licenses or insurance.

In a report filed on Jan. 1 by DMV Administrator Tom McClellan, he stated: “Four years after implementing a legal presence requirement in Oregon, changes in driver licensing requirements have not had a major impact on the rate of unlicensed and uninsured driving."

Translation: There is no current documentation available since the passage of SB 1080 that more people legally or not legally present in the state are driving unlicensed and uninsured.

Oregonians should realize by now there was no justification for the Legislature and governor to make SB 833 state law this year, allowing those without documentation to obtain access to a pseudo-driver’s license — called a driver card.

Looking back to 2012: When Oregonians for Immigration Reform, opponents to the issuance of driver’s licenses to the undocumented, found out about proposed legislation that would change the legal presence requirement, OFIR asked to participate in what was called the “Governor’s Driver License Task Force."

After repeated requests to the governor’s office asking to participate or attend Driver License Task Force meetings, according to OFIR, its leadership was told by the governor’s state capital office staff “that staff knew nothing about the existence of a Driver License Task Force."

Not believing the Driver License Task Force didn’t exist, OFIR leadership filed two public information requests addressed to the governor’s office requesting the names of Task Force members and meeting minutes.

The governor’s legal counsel denied both public information requests. An appeal was filed and that appeal was rejected by the attorney general’s office. Exclusion of public input continued even after SB 833 was introduced during the regular 2013 state legislative session.

To avoid scrutiny or critiques of the legislation, pro-SB 833 legislators dominated, with their own testimony, most of the time they made available for public oral testimony on the legislation. Before hearing from citizens who had signed up to speak in opposition, the Senate committee chair invited lengthy oral testimony from an alleged undocumented mother accompanied by her small child, a political tactic known as “baby waving."

It gets worse yet; to avoid further public scrutiny of SB 833, the senators and representatives controlling the legislative process moved the legislation from the Senate directly to the House floor for a debate and vote — side-stepping the normal procedure of hearings in both chambers.

To open up the democratic process to citizens shunned by the pro-SB 833 cabal in the governor’s office and state Legislature, State Reps. Kim Thatcher and Sal Esquivel, along with Richard LaMountain, vice president of OFIR, stepped forward and placed their names on Oregon referendum 301. The referendum campaign being successful would stop SB 833 from becoming state law on Jan. 1.

With guidance from OFIR and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses Committee, Oregonians across the state worked together and gathered 70,973 referendum signatures that were turned into the state elections office by the Oct. 4 deadline.

On Oct. 18, after the first statistical check by state election officials of 1,000 referendum petition signees, election officials validated the signatures of 58,291 registered Oregon voters, more than the minimum number of signatures the referendum campaign needed to put SB 833 before the state’s voters in November 2014.

The 70,973 registered Oregon voters who signed the referendum 301 petition did their homework. These Oregonians understand there simply are no data to back up proponents’ claims that making SB 833 a state law will make Oregon’s roads any safer.

— David Olen Cross, of Salem, writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime

Jim Ludwick

Senate Bill 833 would grant official driver privilege cards to illegal aliens.

The referendum to overturn this law was mobilized by Oregonians for Immigration Reform and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses (PODL) Committee. On Oct. 18, the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office announced that the referendum qualified and would be placed on the November 2014 ballot.

Earlier this year, Gov. John Kitzhaber gave a speech on the steps of the state Capitol announcing he was forming “a diverse work group … to come together around changes in our driver’s license laws, allowing people to come out of the shadows and contribute to our state’s economic recovery. Oregonians need to be able to drive back and forth to their jobs.”

While I disagree with the governor that illegal aliens are “Oregonians,” I do agree that by giving them driver privilege cards, they will be able to drive back and forth to jobs. Jobs that, of course, they cannot legally hold, for employers who can’t legally hire them and using Social Security numbers stolen from American citizens. The governor ignores the fact that an estimated 120,000 illegal aliens are stealing jobs from citizens. He ignores the estimated 160,000 Oregon citizens out of work and Oregon’s U-6 unemployment rate — including part-time employees and marginally attached workers — of 16.9 percent. He can’t connect the dots between unemployment and easy availability of illegal labor to employers.

When we heard the governor’s May Day speech, we contacted his Citizens Representative Office and asked to become part of the “diverse work group” being formed. There followed a long, frustrating saga of requests, refusals and lies from the governor’s office and staff, and four Freedom of Information filings — all fruitless. As time went by, we discovered the governor’s work group had actually been meeting in secret for more than a year, with input only from those who stood to profit from the plans, either politically or personally.

The public interest was completely shut out. While citizens were barred from the secret meetings, officials from the Mexican Consular office were invited to participate.

SB 833 was quickly rammed through the Oregon Legislature without the usual hearings process, causing citizens to start a challenge to the bill almost immediately.

The required number of valid signatures for a referendum was 58,142. We collected more than 75,000 in a little more than three months, from towns and counties all over Oregon. In the first validation test by the Secretary of State, a 1,000-signature sample is taken, and 9.44 percent of the 1,000 are automatically deducted without examination on the assumption of at least 9.44 percent inaccuracy. However, after the first screening, the PODL referendum still had enough valid signatures to qualify — a rarity among initiatives. Our quick success was due to widespread indignation over SB 833.

As a result, Oregon voters will have the opportunity to decide the issue. There should be in-depth discussions allowing voters a chance to think about the issue and learn the true, serious ramifications and consequences of the bill. To this end, OFIR and the PODL Committee plan to expand their website in coming weeks and will be available to speak to civic groups.

Proponents of giving driver cards to illegal aliens claim it will make our roads safer. They have no data to back up these claims. The history of convictions among illegal aliens for drunk driving and drug gang involvement shows otherwise.

Granting official Oregon driver privilege cards to illegal aliens is not only dangerous, it undermines the rule of law on which our nation was founded. SB 833 should be voted down.

Jim Ludwick is communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses Committee. For more information, visit www.protectoregondl.org.

NOTE:  This article was printed in the weekly Viewpoints section of the News-Register beside an article by Ron Louie, retired Hillsboro police chief. Louie's article was headed YES and presented arguments in favor of SB 833.

Robert Bennett
Mail Tribune

Before the government shutdown, as Harry Reid refused to negotiate, the media blamed Republicans for the closure. But that proved to be the perfect "briar patch" to be thrown into once the shortcomings of Obamacare became known to the public. The Obamacare debut was so bad the Obama-media-complex couldn't hide it and anti-Republican polls reversed themselves and voters realized the world would be a better place if Ted Cruz had been able to defund it.

Only President Obama didn't seem to get it and now he intends to promote another piece of massively complex legislation, Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But the public won't be fooled twice. Now they know this president will happily grant waivers to his political friends and he'll pick and choose which parts of a law he will — or will not — enforce. They know too, most illegal aliens in America are poorly educated, so they'll probably vote Democrat, creating even more Reids and Obamas.

In short, the president has blown his cover. He was able to keep enough folks in the dark to push through Obamacare, but his chances of doing that with immigration reform are pretty much zilch to none.

And that's a very good thing.


Gary Rider

Politics can work. Mainly at the local or state level.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform stepped up to challenge the driver card bill passed by the left-leaning governor and state representatives. They collected signatures and now it will be a ballot measure next November.

All this bill really does is buy votes for liberals. It does not guarantee safer drivers as it claims. It lines the pockets of insurance companies and most of all, it endorses illegal activity.

Don’t we have enough of that with this president?

Gary Rider, Albany


Jerry Ritter
The Bulletin

Once again the media have wrongly and unfairly characterized Oregonians for Immigration Reform as an “anti-immigrant group."

OFIR is not anti-immigrant. We oppose illegal immigration. OFIR has clearly stated that it favors levels of legal immigration that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

We are opposed to making it easier for unscrupulous businesses to hire workers who are in the country illegally instead of American workers. We are opposed to our governor and legislators laying out the welcome mat for these workers and thumbing their noses at our nation’s laws by aiding and abetting people who have violated the law. Kudos to OFIR, Rep. Kim Thatcher, Rep. Sal Esquivel and the hundreds of volunteers who have forced a referendum on the ill-advised Senate Bill 833.

Jerry Ritter