Gresham didn’t make a great first impression

I moved from Austin, Texas, to Gresham seven days ago. But two weeks ago, while still in Austin, we experienced freezing rain and below-freezing temperatures. The city of Austin had sand trucks out all night making sure the streets were safe for the morning commute.

Over the past few days while driving around Gresham, I failed to see any snow plowing or sanding equipment whatsoever.

Furthermore, I couldn’t see signs of where any streets were plowed at all. Is this lack of service city policy or a failure to respond? If what I saw and experienced this past few days regarding the city’s response to street plowing, the city of Gresham should be embarrassed.

Kevin Komarnicki, Gresham

Let’s not heap misery upon failure

At a recent town hall on trade issues, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden expressed his support for the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite his concerns over “transparency” with the negotiations.

His concerns are understandable, since he and his staff were initially refused access to TPP documents despite his being chairman of the Senate subcommittee on international trade.

That Congress is not privy to these negotiations should come as no surprise, as the privileged “stakeholders” in the TPP negotiations are large multinational corporations, hordes of special interest groups and key government officials.

It has been revealed that only five of the 29 chapters of the TPP actually deal with trade. The others deal with harmonizing laws and regulations between the member nations in a host of areas. This amounts to the same sort of economic integration seen in Europe, which preceded the political merging to form the European Union.

As for being a boon to Oregon’s economy, surely Sen. Wyden knows better. We have witnessed the same deceptive promises through NAFTA.

When NAFTA was passed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of $1.6 billion. By 2010, there was a trade deficit with Mexico of $61.6 billion.

That is a dramatic loss of cash, jobs and industry leaving the country, and the TPP will surely bring much more of the same. All the more reason why everyone should contact their congressional representatives and demand they unconditionally oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Allan Page, North Gresham

Loved Coke’s message

Kudos to Callie Vandewiele for her comments regarding the Coke ad that aired during the 2014 Super Bowl (Feb. 4 Outlook). I would like to add to her well-done article.

I support immigration, just not illegal immigrants. When the ad started, I stopped eating my popcorn and thought, “What the ...” and then as the ad continued, I went, “Wow, what a creative way to acknowledge who America is.”

We are all of those people in the ad and are citizens of the greatest country on earth.

My view is that people who are here illegally do not love this country enough to find a way to become legalized citizens, and therefore are undermining our country. Coke is spot on with its intent and did a great job expressing it. Wish there was a way for them to express the difference between legal and illegal immigrants.

Kathleen Overton, Gresham

Time for lawmakers to break down barriers

Recently the Oregon Council on Civil Rights released a pay inequality report finding what too many women and families already know to be true: Women are not receiving equal pay for equal work, and their economic security is suffering as a result.

The report, which was three years in the making, cites research by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that shows Oregon women working full time, year round, earn an average of 79 cents (for every dollar) compared to what men earn.

Oregon’s pay gap is not just an issue for women.

With a record number of women in the work force and four in 10 women serving as the primary or sole breadwinner for their families, it is essential that women bring home the pay they have rightfully earned.

As program vice president of AAUW of Oregon, I am proud of our efforts to advocate for legislation that would help close the gender pay gap and allow workers to earn paid sick days (another barrier to equity identified by the council’s report).

We have been collecting signatures in support of these issues for months, and we look forward to delivering the signatures to the Oregon Legislature at our legislative advocacy day Feb. 21.

The Oregon Legislature commissioned this report from the Council on Civil Rights. Now, it’s time for them to implement the policy recommendations in order to dismantle barriers to workplace equality and protect the health of Oregon’s families and economy as a whole.

Mardy Stevens, Vice president AAUW of Oregon Program, Gresham

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