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Readers' Letters: Agencies have no right to release personal info

Why is my driver’s license information, including age, weight, address, marital status, etc., being made available to anyone for any reason (Fat? Check your ZIP code, Sept. 5)? This is private information and the only reason the state is even given access to it is to issue a driver’s license to me, which I pay them to receive.

At one time you could look up a license plate number through the state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division records and get the owner’s name and address. This was discontinued as an invasion of privacy.

These government agencies have no business releasing any information about citizens without getting written permission in advance.

Ed Barry

Northwest Portland

Find a solution, not new homeless site

Right 2 Dream Too is a complex and necessary situation for the whole metro region to discuss and find resolution to (Handshake spurs deal to relocate R2DT camp, Sept. 5).

The camp had to move, and the protest is valid. But the move is temporary and we need to discuss what happens when the year is up. And the people of the Pearl directly benefitted from the area’s homeless problem declining the property rates so the Pearl development could become possible.

Instead of spending money and time on a lawsuit, they should champion the cause of the homeless and find a permanent solution. Moving the population is just moving the problem, not finding a solution. Compassion must return to the American consciousness.

Jeremiah Johnson

Northwest Portland

Prius drivers also can be cheaters

Regarding your recent article (Cheater!, Aug. 29): Add Prius to the list of upscale vehicles driven by cheaters. At all-way stops, these drivers seem to think they are saving the Earth so they have the right to go first.

Well, I have news for them. Only a reduction of world population will save the Earth, so I agree — they should go first.

Bill Warner

Lake Oswego

‘Do it for kids’ hurts public employees

I recently received yet another e-mail from the office of our governor asking me to “do it for the kids.” Ever the favorite plea, the governor’s request was followed by the favorite solution, “take it out on public employees.”

I no longer work for the state; I did so for 20 years. During that time I watched all the financial shenanigans that have gone on in Oregon for decades. As a lifelong Democrat, I can tell you that the party makes no difference. The sloppiness occurs on both sides of the aisle.

I have watched the desirability of a public position decline steadily. Working with a constant target on your back is disheartening at best. So when the doctor (Gov. John Kitzhaber) asked me if “I’m in for the schools,” I tried to write him to say “no,” not at the expense of our working citizens.

Unfortunately, contacting the governor’s office at his official website requires opting into his spam list.

That tells you how much he cares about hearing from a loyal opposition. For years now, I’ve watched each administration whittle down employee benefits and welch on agreements. So this time when they drag out the whipping boy yet again, and ask us to flog him “for the children,” I intend to say “no.”

Jonathan Wexler

Southwest Portland

DeFazio plan doesn’t protect water quality

In recent months, Oregonians have been treated to a back-and-forth debate about U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio’s (D-Eugene) plans to increase logging in Oregon’s federal forests.

What is at stake? It’s our water — it’s the future of clean, flowing drinking water at stake.

Polling by the Pew Research Center consistently shows that clean water is what matters most to Oregonians. That is one reason why alarm about the congressman’s plan is increasing.

DeFazio’s plan allows clear-cut logging on federal forests, but that clear-cutting would be regulated only by Oregon’s antiquated state forestry laws. In a Sept. 3 guest viewpoint, even the congressman admits that is a bad thing.

Oregon’s weak rules permit the use of herbicides sprayed by helicopter over thousands of forest acres. These norms are different from federal logging practices, which do not routinely use herbicides or allow helicopter spray. Herbicides pollute our clean water. Herbicides kill soil nutrients.

DeFazio excuses the failure of his plan to retain federal herbicide rules for his national forest giveaway by saying that water-quality protections “would have to come from Salem.” He means that our state agencies would have to fix the Oregon Forest Practices Act.

Our neighboring states — Washington, Idaho and California — have forestry laws that provide no-cut, no-spray zones to better protect rural communities and water quality. Even Idaho has stronger protections for water than Oregon.

DeFazio fails to consider that exporting private forestry’s penchant for aerial pesticide spraying to once-protected national forests will severely harm our clean drinking water.

Lisa Arkin

North Portland