Tag Archives: election

An Opinion: Vote YES on All Three Measures

Election ballots arrived in the mail this week and local voters are being asked to make a choice on three critical ballot measures.  I am encouraging voters to support all three.

The Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District has placed two Measures on the ballot.  Measure 5-245 is a ten year bond for the purchase of a badly needed, new fire engine and would cost taxpayers 26 cents per thousand of assessed property value.  Measure 5-246 is a five year levy to fund the salary of a Training Captain to assist in the administration of the Department, mainly to organize the training of volunteers, as well as respond to calls when on duty.  This would cost taxpayers 32 cents per thousand of assessed value.

The Vernonia Fire Department currently has one paid responder, Chief Dean Smith.  According to Smith, volunteerism at the District is at an all time low and call volume is as high as it’s ever been.  State requirements for volunteer training continue to increase.  On top of that the VRFPD remains the lowest funded of any District in Columbia County.

Smith and the Vernonia Fire District are facing a perfect storm-a community that is too busy to volunteer, a limited training schedule to get the small number of volunteers they do have to meet state requirements, limited resources to fund operations and equipment,  and not enough responders to answer the larger volume of calls they are receiving.

As Smith likes to point out, he and his small band of dedicated volunteers don’t just respond to fires.  They assist the local ambulance service on EMS calls and also serve as the local rescue unit.  They handle anything from extrications from motor vehicle accidents, to providing traffic control, to  getting cats out of trees, and they have to be trained for all of them.   Read More

Vernonia’s Voice Endorses Mitchell, Hult and Heimuller

On Thursday, October16 Vernonia’s Voice hosted a political forum called “Meet the Candidates.”  We invited candidates for Vernonia Mayor, Vernonia City Council, Columbia County Commissioner, and Circuit Court Judge.  The candidates answered a series of questions allowing audience members a chance to see some of the differences between them.

In the past, Vernonia’s Voice has not made endorsements of political candidates.  But there are several races on the ballot this year that are just too important.

Vernonia’s Voice is pleased to announce our endorsement of Josette Mitchell for Vernonia Mayor, Jill Hult for Vernonia City Council and Henry Heimuller for Columbia County Commissioner.

The following is recap of the “Meet the Candidates” event and our reasons for endorsing these candidates.

 

Vernonia Mayor

Candidates:  Josette Mitchell, Sally Harrison

Josette Mitchell has served as Vernonia Mayor for the last four years.  Her opponent, Sally Harrison was the previous Mayor; Mitchell defeated Harrison in the 2010 election and than ran unopposed in 2012.

In the time Mitchell has been Mayor she has been extremely active and involved in the day-to-day operations at City Hall.  She has been extremely busy, acting as the interim City Administrator for nine months as well as Mayor this past year.  She has shown the ability to dig in and learn about and deal with the issues facing the City.  As she stated during the forum, she has been involved in moving numerous projects forward and wants the opportunity to complete the work she started as mayor.  She deserves her chance.

Mitchell is a doer.  She has diligently tackled several complicated issues head-on and worked to find solutions.  I believe she has learned that government work can be painstakingly slow, but she has shown  she has the determination and grit and to stick with it and deal with the issues.   Whether or not you’ve agreed with her decisions or methods,  you certainly can’t accuse her of standing pat, giving up,  or letting things slide.  Whether it’s been helping a citizen deal with a drainage issue, or dealing with the conflict between the Ridge Riders and the City, or complaints about maintenance at the cemetery, or making sure the Spencer Park fields were built correctly, Mitchell has jumped in, looked for solutions and followed through.   Read More