Day: March 9, 2012

PACs flush with cash as election looms

This story has been corrected. See end of story for full correction. By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Supporters of Keizer Fire and Marion County Fire District No. 1 have spent more than $17,000 – and have plenty more cash on hand – to persuade voters their agency should protect the Clear Lake neighborhood. Voters have until March 13 to submit their ballot for two special election measures which would, as written, take territory in north Keizer from MCFD and give it to KFD. Marion County Fire District has filed suit in Marion County Circuit Court, which could affect the election’s ultimate outcome. The political action committee supporting the measures, Friends of Keizer Fire District, has $6,570 on hand, while opposing committee Keep Keizer Safe has $3,908, according to figures from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. Numbers were current as of Tuesday, March 6. Major contributors to Friends of Keizer Fire include the agency’s union, which has contributed $5,000. In contrast, Marion County Fire District No. 1’s union has not made a contribution. The union and agency have had extensive problems, with the union voting no confidence in Chief Kevin Henson just last year. The union also unsuccessfully backed two candidates to replace board members Randy Franke and Orville Downer. Union President Kris Boyer didn’t return a request for comment. Franke said he was mystified why MCFD’s union would...

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Gun privacy bill is big win for Rep. Thatcher

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes Rep. Kim Thatcher’s bill restricting disclosure of concealed handgun license holders’ information now awaits the governor’s signature after passing both chambers of the Oregon Legislature. Even more restrictive legislation passed the House last year, but didn’t get through the Senate. This year’s version, House Bill 4045, adds exemptions to the law: For example, information could be released under a court order, if the license holder allows for it, or a public body determines a “compelling need” to disclose. Several criminal justice exemptions also are in the proposed law; for example, a crime victim could find out if the perpetrator had a license, and news organizations could learn if a person convicted of certain crimes had a concealed carry license. Thatcher admits the “compelling need” passage gave her heartburn, but was pleased to see the bill make it to the Senate floor. “I want to make it very clear that that is a very high threshold meant to cover rare circumstances not contemplated in the other exemptions,” Thatcher said. The bill got broad support in both chambers, passing the House 44-14 on initial hearing and 54-6 on concurrence. The Senate passed legislation 24-5. “People in the community around Oregon rose up and said, ‘Hey Senate! Hear this!’” Thatcher said. “Finally we’re starting to get some movement.” On the House floor last week, Rep. Phil...

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Too many inconsistencies

By MIKE WELTER The Vineyards 1 Home Owners Association board has gathered a considerable amount of information from both fire districts as well as the city on this annexation plan.  We feel this plan has too many inconsistencies and unanswered questions. Currently we have auto response by Keizer Fire District (KFD) and Marion County Fire District #1 (MCFD1) from Chemawa Road north to the city limits.  If MCFD1 is no longer at the Clear Lake station they will have to respond from further away if KFD is tied up.  This could delay response times up to 10 minutes or longer. Delayed response time equals a higher probability of property loss.  If both measures pass, Keizer Fire says they will have two ambulances in service but that’s less than we have now between the two fire districts.  This takes a valuable resource from the center of the city where the majority of their ambulance calls originate and moves it to the northern fringes of the city.  This equates to less resources and delayed response times to those in need for a medical emergency. Who gets the Clear Lake station and equipment:  Keizer Fire has stated that the station and equipment would come to them at no cost and this is in their analysis presented to the city.  However in their City of Keizer Withdrawal of Clear Lake Area Fact Sheet...

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Threats will not derail CCC’s mission

By CHERYL ROBERTS Three threats of violence against Chemeketa Community College have raised concern, frustration and questions about the security of college students and employees. Many students have had their schedules changed without notice and classes canceled. The time spent investigating these calls has interrupted our ability to educate students who are investing energy and money to improve their lives. Students are outraged that selfish individuals are thwarting their education. We hear from students and alumni all the time how Chemeketa has improved their lives. We have profound experiences of the community coming along side to support us when we need help. Now we are in a predicament and need you in a different way. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is devoting significant resources to the case. Anyone with information helpful to solving the case can contact the Sheriff’s Office anonymously at 503-588-5112. I wish we had a magic wand to protect us all from danger, but that is not possible, and it would be naive to pretend we will always be completely immune from risk.  I refuse to accept that these situations will derail us from our mission to transform lives. We are well-prepared to anticipate and respond to threats, and I want to share some of the steps we’ve taken to make Chemeketa as safe as possible – 1. Our Director of Public Safety has over 30...

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Vote yes on annexation

I am a Keizer resident and very concerned about this annexation issue.  I have been around the Keizer Fire District my entire life and I am writing this letter in support of the annexation of the Clear Lake area to the Keizer Fire Department.  Keizer Fire District is a department filled with people of compassion, honesty and integrity.  The entire KFD cares a great deal, not only about Keizer and its citizens, but about all of the Salem and surrounding areas.  Each and every employee of KFD would help out anyone, from any agency, at any time. I have a few points to make concerning this election. Point one: The annexation of the Clear Lake area was brought to the fore by two Clear Lake Home owners’ association requests for Keizer Fire to be their fire district.   That point seems to be being overlooked by both fire departments.  I acknowledge that one of the associations has withdrawn their support however that occurred very recently and very late in the game. Point two: Marion County Fire District has said they will need to lay-off  20 staff if Keizer obtains Clear Lake.  Perhaps MCFD should look at their budget.  In looking over the minutes of MCFD, I ran across minutes dated Sept. 15, 2010 concerning the fiscal year 2011-12.  I would encourage citizens to follow this link to the minutes and...

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