3 November 2021
Standing Up for Our Essential Workers
As chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, I take much responsibility for what happens with the county, its residents and its employees.
The governor’s most recent COVID related mandates drew my attention because of their potential impacts on the hard-working people who help us provide services to every man, woman and child in Clackamas County. Of particular concern was the impacts on our brave public safety employees and our heroes in the health care sector.
I wanted to have a strong resolution from the Board of County Commissioners to present to the governor at a meeting she had scheduled with county board chairs from throughout the state. Our board spent two weeks working on it and we came up with a draft resolution.
Having received input from my fellow commissioners, I put the draft resolution on the agenda for the Board of County Commissioners’ Business Meeting held on September 23. My fellow commissioners had ample opportunities to submit any changes they wanted to see well in advance of that meeting.
The resolution simply and clearly stated the county’s determination to continue having its public health department offer free and accessible COVID vaccinations to anyone who wants them. It also requested that the state reevaluate the terms of the vaccine mandate to consider all options that could prevent further exhaustion and departure of core public service providers. That includes an extension of the deadline for those employees to be fully vaccinated, regular COVID tested, religious and medical exemptions and recognition of effective, proven technologies in the workplace.
It also states the board’s determination to advocate the state legislature to allow for the easy transferrable licensure agreements between sates for healthcare providers. The resolution also urged the governor to engage in listening sessions with the business community and public to hear directly about these workforce issues.
In short, the intention of those resolution was to express the board’s support for policies that can keep first responders and medical personnel on the job.
Commissioner Paul Savas had offered up the language in the revised draft. On the day of the meeting, I stated my support for the resolution and the reasons why it is necessary. Some sectors of our workforce are feeling overwhelmed, and we need to do everything we can to keep those professionals from leaving their positions. They’ve been our heroes for the last year and a half, and we must offer solutions to mitigate the impacts on our service delivery system.
I felt, and still feel, that extending the deadline was reasonable. A similar extension was given to state employees, so it made sense to me that county workers should receive the same courtesy. It was also important to me that the sheriff’s office deputies who work at our jail have basic workplace protections.
The audience members in attendance expressed their clear support for the resolution.
A motion was made to adopt the resolution, and it was seconded. But even though they had weeks to make any changes they wanted to see, some of my fellow commissioners backed down from supporting it at the last minute.
One objected to the use of the word “mandate.” Another said that he couldn’t support the resolution, which he himself largely wrote, unless the vote would be unanimous. This was nothing but a pure political cop out.
I stated that throughout the process, I gave in and compromised and didn’t see the willingness of other commissioners to do the same.
The resolution didn’t pass, and the board lost a critical opportunity to stand up for its most essential workers.
However, this disappointing setback will not deter me from seeking ways to continue doing so as the board’s chair.
12 June 2021
A Community-Wide Effort results in Clackamas County moving to ‘Lower Risk’
Published in Pamplin MediaGroup – EstacadaNews
“This is great news for our Clackamas County residents and businesses. I’d like to express my thanks to our local business community and residents for their sacrifices as they worked to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. I’m hopeful that with our collective efforts we will soon fully reopen and get back to business,” Clackamas County Commission Chair Tootie Smith said.
Content credit to Pamplin MediaGroup – EstacadaNews
10 July 2019
Oregon State Government is Your Titanic
Oregon state government has become its own Titanic heavy
with taxes, guns and vaxx. Soon to sink under the stupidity of its own ideas.
- $26 billion PERS retirement debt. Originally started as
an incentive to give retirement to people to work in government back when the
jobs paid little. Today through shrewd union negotiations for higher and higher
wages and willing elected officials who gladly accepted tons of union cash to
support their elections, we see a debt too big to pay.
- State wide rent control that limited, (or guaranteed)
7% rent increases plus inflation. This attempt to control costs will backfire
as landlords immediately raised their rents or sold their properties to larger
conglomerates opting for a more stable investment.
- Massive Gun control bills aimed to disarm what
politicians can’t control — your speech.
- Remove measure 50 property tax limitations could
increase your property taxes by as 40%.
- Removed mortgage interest deductions on primary and
secondary residences, for many.
- $2 billion gross sales tax on businesses. Politicians
think you will think this is a tax on someone else, so it won’t matter. It’s
those big bad businesses that gives us jobs, 401K’s and the products we demand
to buy or the services we need.
- Mandatory vaccinations that
take away parental choice with consultation with your doctor and gives Oregon
Health Authority the power to forcibly inject your children with drugs.
- Increased taxes on cell phones, beer, wine, cigarettes,
vapors, groceries, fuel for cars and trucks, home heating oil, planes, trains
and automobiles, timber and agriculture.
It’s not all bleak. There’s a fix. Your vote matters and
there’s an election just around the corner.
Its time to stand up and take back your government. Is this
what you voted for in electing a SUPER MAJORITY for the legislature and a
governor who doesn’t understand you?
15 June 2019
Catch-22 Dilemma of the Measles Vaccination Debate
To vaxx or not to vaxx. You may have the right not to vaxx,
but you do not have the right to infect.
The debate exploded when HB 3063 was sent to Oregon Senate
after quickly passing in the House of Representative. Thanks to Senator Kim Thatcher who pointed
out the absurdity of mandating the Oregon Health Authority to forcibly
vaccinate children aside from parental choice and consultation with their
What legislators learned about the debate over HB 3063
surprised them. Ironically, most opposition to the bill came from parents who
do indeed vaccinate as do the legislators I talked to who ultimately voted no
on the bill. Parental choice of child
rearing was removed from them and put into government hands.
According the National Institute of Health, measles cases is
at a 25-year high in America since being eliminated in 2000. What you say?
- Measles was eliminated because parents vaccinated their
children. Also, those same parents were vaccinated themselves, so goes the low
incidence of measles.
- Newer parents come on the scene and decide that since
the disease is gone, they don’t need to vaccinate. But what they don’t realize,
the reason the disease is gone is because of the high rate of vaccination from
their parents and grandparents.
- Much bad information is spread on social media about
not vaccinating and we all need to use our due diligence in discerning the
truth. Case in point: my 25-year old niece who has two small children made the
decision to spread the MMR, (measles, mumps and rubella vaxx) into three
separate shots instead of one. Smart
HB 3063 is an overreaction to government sponsored disease
control. Herd immunity is working
somewhat in that measles is not an epidemic and no one has died. However, those
parents who choose not to vaxx must understand the responsibility they hold
with possible exposure your child could bring when in public. You may have the right not to vaxx, but you
do not have the right to infect.