In an April 28 "Guest Commentary," a Klamath Tribe member Jeff Mitchell and a tribal employee Larry Dunsmoor penned their "personal views" calling the Klamath Conservative Voters PAC racists and other inappropriate names that I was taught not to say let alone put in print, and I don't think the newspaper should have printed them either.
Regardless, Mitchell and Dunsmoor took issue with the Klamath Conservative Voters paid political advertisements of April 18 and 21 that opposed dam removal and the KBRA.
Others who didn't like the conservative messages in the advertisements were a few wealthy landowners in the Merrill, Malin and Tulelake areas. They placed their own ad in the newspaper supporting their candidate, dam removal and the KBRA under the name, "Voices of Klamath County's Economy and Agriculture." Their advertisement was not legal, however. There is no "Voices" entity registered with the Secretary of State.
It's OK if Mitchell, Dunsmoor and others disagree with our opinions. They certainly have that right.
But we don't believe they have the right to try to label conservative voters as racists.
Don't use our hard-earned money
It is true that we don't want the Tribe or the wealthy landowners or anyone else to use our taxpayer and ratepayer dollars to remove Klamath dams. But that doesn't mean we are racists. It means we don't want them to spend our hard-earned money.
It is also true that we don't want the wealthy landowners or anyone else to use our taxpayer dollars to purchase new lands for the Tribes. But that doesn't mean we are racists. It means we don't want them to spend our hard-earned money.
The Klamath Conservative Voters PAC is not alone in this.
More than 65 percent of the Klamath County voters also oppose the same things (Whitsett, Garrard poll May 13, 2009). That doesn't mean that 65 percent of Klamath voters are racists. It means they don't like the proposed ideas and they don't want the commissioners, the state or Congress to spend their hard-earned money.
On the other hand, we encourage the Tribe, the environmentalists and the specific landowners to make their own deals.
If the wealthy landowners who support the KBRA want to pay for land in their area to give to the Tribe that's OK, as long as it is their money and their land. But the Klamath Conservative Voters PAC and the strong majority of the taxpayers want our money and our Klamath dams left out of the deal.
On a related subject, the Tribe is to be congratulated for providing the opportunity for their members to vote on the KBRA. Unfortunately the Klamath county commissioners did not provide the same opportunity for the rest of us.
However, we voters can let our voices be heard starting this week by voting for the best candidate for state representative and the best candidate for county commissioner. Fortunately those two best candidates are also the ones who oppose dam removal.
Frank Goodson is a board member of the Klamath Conservative Voters PAC, past chairman of the Klamath County Republican Central Committee, a Klamath County resident for the past 20 years and a businessman, who lives in Fort Klamath.