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Letters to the Editor

To the editor of the Dayton Chronicle

I started in Law enforcement in 1981 and over the years I have worked at federal, city and county levels, both big and small departments, I have also taught both basic and advanced law enforcement classes. With that said no matter what department you go to there are always go getters and guys just marking time. My wife was the chief deputy prosecutor for Columbia County for several years before moving to another agency, so it was quite common for the guys to stop by or call and ask her questions. She encouraged it and I loved it because in my experience as a street cop that was not the norm, I could never get an attorney on the phone at night when I had questions and I never dreamed of stopping by their house.

My experience with Joe Helm was always positive, I watched him testify once in an absolutely professional and perfect manner, you see a trial is where the true test of a case works out and Joe had taken over a messy one and had cleaned it up nicely. So many officers screw up good cases at trial because of small things that they under estimated, how to sit, where to look, what to wear, using proper English, it all comes under scrutiny on the stand. Joe Helm could teach classes in testifying.

When I think of Jeff Jenkins, I see a deputy who in his last three years assigned to a drug task force turned in two cases to the Columbia County prosecutor's office, zero as the primary officer to the other counties the task force worked in. He lost both cases in our county due to him failing to follow the search warrant he himself wrote. If you think about how much money in wages, benefits, vehicles and training you would probable see that we spent over $200,000 on his two cases. That is pathetic. The DEA who funded that task force closed it. Four years later the task force is now restarted but we are not on it. I watched a dash cam video of Jenkins at an incident led by Sheriff Rocky Miller and the quad cities task force, if you focus just on the actions of Jenkins you would cringe, he looked lost confused and lacked basic law enforcement skills. Evidently the six Sheriffs he has worked for must have seen something similar as he has never been promoted to leadership by any of them. The video is part of both the case file at the S.O. and at the P.O. and you can see for yourself with a FOI request.

Bud Mills

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the youthful attendance at the Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday night.

Your intentional decision to be present was noted. Not only did you invest in tickets for the evening, but many of you also paid babysitting services. With high costs surrounding us, the decision could have easily been made to not attend.

We are fortunate as a community to have you.

I, for one, woke Sunday morning with renewed energy and hope for our nation and local community.

Thank you for choosing to live here, raise your families here and lend a hand when you can.

The young parents of our local population are a powerhouse who rally around the athletic interests, school functions, and other non-school activities of our youth. Although I'm sure you don't have a lot of extra energy to give, you are there when asked.

Please consider joining one of our service groups–the Dayton Lions or the Dayton Kiwanis. Both these organizations serve a variety of needs in our community, nation and even internationally. Their local memberships are dwindling and aging and could certainly gain from a youthful helping hand, no matter how minor.

May older individuals in our community recognize and understand your need for support and offer their assistance to you and our children. (4-H leaders are needed!) Together we are strong.

Carla Rowe

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor,

After attending the Sheriff's candidate forum on 9/26/22 I have some concerns.

Our Sheriff's department has adopted a code of ethics signed by every officer. Historically most discussions of police ethics focus on the relationship between the police and the public. What an officer does off duty will likely weigh just as heavily on the public as what they do on duty.

Within Columbia county's sheriff's office code of ethics, it is stated:

"While I consider the way I choose to conduct my private affairs a personal freedom, I accept the responsibilities for my actions, as well as inactions, while on-duty or off duty, when those actions bring disrepute on the public image of my employer, my fellow officers, and the law enforcement profession."

"I will affirmatively seek ways to avoid conflicts and potential conflicts of interest that could compromise my official authority or public image."

"I hold the authority inherent in my position to be an affirmation of the public's trust in me as a law enforcement officer. I do not take this trust lightly. As long as I remain in this position, I will dedicate myself to maintaining this trust and upholding all the ideals of the law enforcement profession."

With this being said undersheriff Patterson is in violation of the code of ethics he signed, not only in violation of the Sheriff's department code of ethics but also in violation of Columbia County personnel policy. As Mr. Patterson being an "at will employee" defined on page 11 of the manual and is subject to disciplinary action citing page 16 of manual under examples of inappropriate activities:

"Use of religious, political and fraternal influence."

I have read the public requested email correspondence between concerned community members in response to undersheriff Patterson's behavior and our sheriff spanning last three months expressing fear, distrust for law enforcement, these emails have gone unanswered in entirety. As a public servant who loves my community, I found this to be heartbreaking, and the lack of response to the expressed feelings from community members I find abhorrent.

How is this building trust in our community? How is this professional? Is this what one expects to see in a leader? Currently there is no social media policy within the sheriff's department as more concerns are raised at the content of Mr. Patterson's media platforms, sowing distrust, bias, division, and fear of law enforcement. Currently there is no job description for chaplaincy which is also problematic as this is the excuse that is being used to allow unprofessional conduct from a person in power.

Another topic of concern was the acknowledgement by our sheriff that our officers are not current in certifications or trainings. Public records requests for these records have not been fulfilled going on 60 days. Officers are not current in BLS/First Aid certification amongst others in violation again of Columbia County policy under trainings. This is a public health safety risk for not only our community but for the county as well. Officers are first responders.

As a healthcare employee if I am not current in my certifications or trainings I am not allowed to work. The Sheriff's department employs 13 people. If large organizations with hundreds of employees state wide can maintain certifications during a pandemic, I reject this tepid excuse for our Sheriff's department not keeping their employees current. This speaks volumes to the lack of leadership and the mismanagement of our Sheriff's department.

Theresa Eier

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor,

Regarding Metropolitan Board Commissioners:

If the Metropolitan Parks District proposal passes, I believe it's very important to vote for the board that will commit to progressing forward with the long-term goal. This elected board will have a huge job ahead, working with architects to design the building and have community meetings to approve of said design, work on getting funding and grants, appoint a bookkeeper, work on yearly levies to continue maintaining the new pool, among other things. It will be a lot of work.

After listening to each candidate describe why they are running and what's most important for the new parks and rec district to focus on, I am voting for:

Commissioner No. 1, Dianne McKinley. She has put her heart and soul into developing this District and the first step to building the pool.

Commissioner No. 2, Lisa Naylor. She has worked with Dianne and they make a good team

Commissioner No.3, Ted Lowe He has past experience working with Dayton's summer rec program that made use of the city pool, and understands the benefit of a parks and rec district for citizens of all ages. Ted gave a compassionate speech and would make a great positive addition.

Commissioner No. 4, Marjorie Lowe. She brings to the table her experience in grant writing.

Commissioner No.5, Carol Anderson. She has an invested interest in continuing her water aerobics, and will work hard to get a pool built. She listens to many in her classes as to what is needed and desired.

In my opinion, Melissa Byran clearly stated, if elected, it will be her way and her way only as she sees it. I guess she didn't realize she wouldn't be the only one on the board.

I'm not sure of the reason that three Aukermans decided to run. Perhaps at least one gets voted in, or all so it's a controlling interest?

I believe the above five will work hard and give many hours to this project.

Teeny McMunn

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor,

Character matters in leadership. Without this fundamental value a person cannot build trust to lead. So, what features make a great leader? Integrity, compassion, and experience tend to be at the top of many lists. Once Jack Miller holds the position of County Commissioner, he will hold firm to his morals and values. Being in a position of authority and influence has major responsibilities and one of those is to never abuse that elected position of power.

When faced with difficult decisions Jack will be able to set aside personal politics and strive to understand what needs to be done for the common good of our county. When the Port of Columbia was discussing a childcare center be built on Port ground a commissioner wrote a distasteful letter against the idea based solely on personal ideologies.

Chuck Amerein abused his position of power and influence. Parents and families' struggles were ignored, rising unemployment was ignored, the voice of the town was ignored. Jack would take an opportunity, such as this, and understand the dire need families and businesses are facing. He would make a decision that was loud and clear for Columbia County and support a childcare center.

Jack is in support of and understands the need for broadband in our rural area. He understands the importance of being fiscally responsible with our tax payer dollars. He understands the need to work with department heads because working TOGETHER we are a better community.

Good character isn't something we are born with; it's a choice we make every day. Jack Miller will make decisions based on the voice of the community. Vote for Jack Miller and let's move Dayton forward!

Elise Severe

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor:

There have been some remarks lately that Jack Miller can't possibly be a true Republican because he has so much support from Democrats in the community. I want to point out that, as a Democrat living in a county with a Republican majority, I have been voting for local Republican candidates for years. Often, both candidates in local races are registered Republicans. I understand that this means I need to learn more about the candidates than just their party affiliation in order to vote my conscience.

I am voting for Republican candidate, Jack Miller, because I believe he is the best candidate for Columbia County Commissioner, District 3. Jack has education and experience in management and agriculture that are relevant to the position. Jack also understands basic concepts such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as it relates to working with people. His opponent, Charles Amerein, made it clear at the AAUW sponsored candidate's forum that he was woefully unaware that such a concept exists.

Letters of support for Mr. Amerein have focused on his "character" based on his willingness to help the writers with snow removal, moving, or during a flood. While these are actions to appreciate from a public servant, after three and a half years in office, I would expect to see endorsements based on his accomplishments during his first term. To date, none have been pointed out. In fact, Mr. Amerein stated at the forum that his number 1 priority for county facilities is a new jail. We've been hearing that from commissioner candidates for 20 years. After almost four years in office, Mr. Amerein hasn't brought us any closer to having a new jail. During his 2018 campaign, Mr. Amerein stated goals of improving the fairgrounds. Four years later, the pavilion bathrooms are still incomplete. Jack Miller understands that we need more from a county commissioner than neighborly gestures. We need someone who follows-through and has the ability to work well with all types of people in our community.

Shellie McLeod

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor,

For the past few months, I have had the pleasure of working with Jack Miller on his campaign for Columbia County Commissioner. Jack is a lifetime Republican and a genuine conservative. But he understands that, as commissioner, he will represent ALL Columbia County residents, not just those who share his political views. Jack will focus on addressing local issues and making Columbia County a better place to live for ALL its citizens. Please vote for Jack Miller!

Ken Graham

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor,

Neighbors United but you're not invited!

I am a proud member of the Columbia County Conservatives and am speaking out because I am appalled and fed up with the continuous hate and slander coming from members of another group in our community.

I'm sure by now everyone has heard of the Neighbors United for Progress. A quote from their website says, "Neighbors United for Progress is a community of citizens from across the political spectrum united to move Columbia County forward." They currently are endorsing Jack Miller who is running for County Commissioner as well as have members that include 2 of our current City Council members Teeny McMunn who is their Treasurer and Dane Nysoe.

I attended a Republican meeting in August at the Delany building where Elise Severe, the Chair of NUP, introduced herself and the NUP. She stressed the fact that they were "multi-partisan" and repeated this several times. When she was done, the Republican Chair Fred White asked her how often they have meetings? Elise Severe stated every week they meet but that the meetings are not open to the public.

I was very surprised by her statement after what she had just preached. Nevertheless, I moved on. That was until just recently when I heard from a member of the community that the NUP was having a Forum for the current Sheriff Candidates, but it wasn't advertised.

So, to avoid listening to hearsay, I emailed NUP directly in which they promptly replied, "The Sheriff's Forum was a Neighbors United members only forum and it was this past Monday."

At this point anyone and everyone should be questioning the motives of NUP. Why is this "multi- partisan" group barring the public from meetings and Forums and claiming"progress"?

This political group that claims to accept all political views that is endorsing Jack Miller and has current elected officials but has also publicly shamed other elected officials like Laura Aukerman, Chuck Amerein and even Seth Bryan for being a part of the CCC.

What is the NUP hiding and what is their end game because it sounds to me like they represent "rules for thee and not for me."

Not once has the CCC kept anyone from attending meetings or held private forums. In fact, Jack Miller was invited by the CCC to speak at our yearly 4th of July event in which he declined. People like Dale Slack, who is not a member of the CCC was invited to speak in which he came and read the Declaration of Independence.

I could honestly care less about the group themselves but what everyone should see as an issue is a group that also states on their website "It takes hard work, dedicated citizens, and a smart government to keep a small town like ours from deteriorating and going backward." They hold private forums and keep everyone they don't agree with away from meetings, then, I believe, publicly slander other individuals who don't share the same political views.

Morgan Poche

Dayton, Wash.

To the editor,

My vote is to re-elect Chuck Amerein for County Commissioner District 3. I believe he has done a good job. He has the welfare of this community in mind and only wants what is best for the people. One thing I admire about Commissioner Amerein is that he does not go along or vote for something he feels is morally wrong. It's easy to go along with the crowd but it's hard to go against them and stand up for what is right.

Commissioner Amerein is a true Republican and has been an active, participating member of the local Republican Party for over 10 years.

Commissioner Amerein is a very caring and compassionate man. He knew my husband and after my husband died this past January, Chuck came to my house and offered to help me in any way he could. He checked things out around the house and found a project my husband had started and didn't get to finish. Chuck came and with a friend did the work. It was a big job and he did it. That shows me his character. I will vote for him and urge you to do so also.

I don't usually write letters to the editor. In fact this is the first one I have written. Some people spend a lot of their time writing letters. It has gotten so that if I see the same name often, I don't bother to read it. They have given their opinion many times–let others state theirs.

Mary Martin

Dayton, Wash.

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