I'm 28 years old, and had to research both Clatsop County Commission candidates for District 3. Peter Huhtala is the only logical choice. He has a lot more business experience than his opponent - he's worked as a real estate broker and operator of a construction contracting firm. That tells me he knows business, contractual agreements, running a construction crew and working as an intermediary to make sure both parties get a good deal.

Huhtala also has worked for many years in the not-for profit world of smart environmental resource extraction. We all know we have to be smart not to over-extract nature's bounty or it will not be able to come back next season. He also has experience dealing with Washington, D.C., and will not be intimidated or fooled by federal politics. He also has strong relationships in Washington. He is the executive director of the Columbia River Business Alliance (CRBA), a collection of local businesses aimed to develop sustainable jobs in the area. CRBA's aim is to keep out the exploitative, flash in the pan businesses who want to make a bunch of money at the expense of the local resources and people.

I found some concerning and uninspiring things about John Raichl. He used to be a U.S. Air Force security police officer, so he has experience guarding entrance gates and issuing visitor passes. Then he applied for Clatsop County sheriff, and was the youngest sheriff in America, which is no feat. Everyone knows guys with prior military police experience are shoe-ins for such positions.

His defining moment as sheriff came from the Gods Valley incident in 2001, where he ordered the limbs cut beneath a suspect 100 feet up a tree. The guy, sleep-deprived for days, eventually fell out of an adjacent tree he had jumped to, almost dying. The Oregonian quoted Raichl as saying, "I'm surprised he lived" and, "I believe I did the right thing."

This is very concerning, because I think his actions violated the corrections code of ethics. It's my belief that law enforcement in America is sworn to bring suspects to justice in a humane fashion to receive a trial by their peers before being executed.

Raichl's actions since being appointed to the recalled Richard Lee's position amid allegations of corruption have been very concerning as well. Thankfully, Dirk Rohne protested and illuminated Raichl's actions. The Daily Astorian reported Raichl was meeting with out-of-state energy speculators in private ("Rohne boycotts pipeline briefings," Jan. 14, 2010) and also reported that Raichl voted to cancel public testimony regarding the county commission's actions ("Schedule set for county review on LNG," June 25, 2009).

The obvious choice is Peter Huhtala for county commissioner of District 3.




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