Oregon State Bar Bulletin OCTOBER 2015
Over the past many years, I have probated wills prepared by other attorneys. As of matter of professional courtesy, I have notified the preparing attorney.
Recently, I have by accident found out that my wills of some time ago (before the witness affidavit) have been filed for probate. When I called the attorney, he said that he never considered calling me.
I am sure many of us have wills out there, and a telephone call would enable us to close and retire a file. I trust that courtesy is not another legal problem.
William D. McDonald, Milwaukie
Way to Go, Amanda!
In 2013, the Bulletin carried an article about paralegal Amanda Ulrich and her effort to make sure that Portland was watching out for the issue of conflict minerals (Profiles in the Law, February/March 2013). I write to tell you that her hard work led to a unanimous vote by the Portland City Council on Aug. 26 to incorporate into the city’s procurement policy steps to ensure that suppliers of cellular devices and other communication devices are compliant with federal legislation with regard to conflict minerals sourced from Eastern Congo. By taking this step, the city of Portland became only the sixth city in the world to change its procurement policy to favor companies working to make their products conflict-free to support the livelihoods of Congolese miners and their communities.
When the vote took place, Amanda observed: “When we realized we are connected to the suffering of the people in eastern Congo through the products our city purchases, it was a shock. But that recognition also led us to see a way to play a positive role. Portland is a place of integrity and humanity. Today, all the people of Portland should feel proud, and congratulate our city council for doing the right thing.”
Amanda’s efforts won’t end there. Working with Commissioner Fritz, Amanda intends to try to get a similar resolution passed in Beaverton, and eventually at the state level. Amanda learned a lot about city government in the process. She commented: “I am beyond impressed with Portland’s city employees and elected officials. Not only have they been extremely compassionate and generous with their time for this issue, but they treat every-day citizens with respect and compassion. We are lucky to be able to engage with our city government, because it is after all for us.”
For those who want to know more, check out www.raisehopeforcongo.org/blog/post/portland-oregon-passes-conflict-free-city-resolution.
Cheryl Coon, Portland
When Mediation Doesn’t Work
About small claims mediation, sometimes it hurts (“Big Impacts,” August/September 2015).
In one mediation I observed, it took so long before it failed to resolve, that the tenant wife finally had to leave in the afternoon to pick up the kid. When the case went back before the judge, she was not there to testify as to what the landlord had said to her, so hearsay rule and all, they lost the case.
Martin Henner, Eugene
How Safe Are We?
I write in response to the essay, “How Safe Are You” (Parting Thoughts, July 2015) about gun legislation.
The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the Second Amendment, as part of the Constitution, provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The primary reason for this amendment is that the founders believed that political power should be in the people, not in the government, and therefore the public should be armed so as to be free of tyranny from government. The Founding Fathers had seen 2,000 years of governmental tyranny in Europe, including England, and they had seen the incredible peace and prosperity of the 13 colonies, and they wanted to avoid tyranny of government above all things. The Second Amendment comes after the First Amendment because the framers likewise wanted the people, not the government, to control the flow of information and ideas in society. I agree that it is difficult to appreciate these abstract concepts in a visceral way, yet these abstractions have protected our lives and happiness ever since our government was formed.
Another reason for the Second Amendment is that the presence of an armed public makes it much less likely that all or some part of the United States will be invaded or infiltrated by foreign powers or forces, as is happening this very day in the U.S. The individual purpose of the Second Amendment is to enable individuals to defend themselves from violence of any sort.
The militia clause, with its odd comma, is difficult to interpret, and the authors may have intentionally made it and much of the Constitution difficult to interpret. I think the Second Amendment means, more or less, that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed because an armed public will coalesce into a form of defense called “militia.” But by making the right to bear arms uninfringeable the authors make it clear that this right is absolute regardless of whether there is a formal militia. Otherwise, the language of the Second Amendment doesn’t make sense.
The essay argues that we will be safer if the government restricts access to guns. I suspect that mass murderers pick targets where they are certain that no one will be armed and they can kill at leisure. We would have less murder, not more, if the public were armed in some reasonable way. It would be interesting to explore the experience of Israel, a Second Amendment country, both in regard to domestic violence and mass murder, even though obviously Israel has many differences from this country. It is by contrast tragic and horrifying to look at the experience of Mexico, where gun control is rigid, murder is commonplace and the government is either unwilling or unable to protect the public.
This is a fascinating, scary and difficult topic. No one wants to see mass murders, domestic murders or courthouse murders, and no one (I hope) wants to live under a government like that of East Germany or North Korea. We all have the same goals. We can and we should talk about guns and government in a collegial and curious and cooperative way.
Roger B. Ley, Astoria
We Love Letters
The Bulletin welcomes letters. In general, letters should pertain to recent articles, columns or other letters and should be limited to 250 words. Other things to keep in mind:
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Send letters to: Editor, OSB Bulletin, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281.
Because of a production error, the last line in the sources list to the article “Where No One Has Gone Before” (August/September 2015) went missing. In its entirety, the cite should have read: Chris Woolston, “Multitasking and Stress,” Health Day (Mar. 11, 2015); http:// consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/emotional-health-17/emotional-disorder-news-228/multitasking-and-stress-646052.html.