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Readers' Letters: Initiative excludes too many residents

Your editorial on the proposed sewer/water ballot initiative (Public gets feet wet in water ballot fight, Oct. 24) was disturbing in what it left unsaid about this deeply flawed industry-backed measure.

The editorial reported on the determination of Multnomah County Circuit Judge Leslie M. Roberts that the new sewer/water district created by the measure would effectively exclude one-sixth of the city’s area. What your editorial did not mention is that this amounts to one-fifth to one-fourth of the city’s population that lives east of 92nd Avenue.

Time, money, language, culture and geographic distance all create enough barriers for East Portland residents trying to get their voices heard in government. Yet far from remedying any of this, the proposed sewer/water ballot initiative would disenfranchise them.

Yet the Tribune editors’ response to these disturbing facts is to merely call them “food for thought,” issues to be “worked out in public debate?” Where is the Portland Tribune’s ethical compass here? A proposal to disenfranchise 20 to 25 percent of Portlanders should not be entertained as legitimate public policy; it should be rejected as an anti-democratic power grab that it is.

Jim Labbe

Audubon Society of Portland urban conservationist

Southeast Portland

Forest standards create balance

As your story (Clash of the Green Giants, Oct. 24) illustrated, an increasing number of programs have proliferated to verify environmentally sound practices in forests and building markets. This competition is necessary to balance the competing environmental, consumer, industry and economic interests among many different stakeholders.

As noted in your article, the LEED rating system only awards a sourcing credit to wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council certification program. A recent EconoSTATS study reviewed the economic impact from forcing landowners to meet FSC standards here in Oregon and in Arkansas.

Our results found that compared with the other certification programs — the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and American Tree Farm System — forcing Oregon foresters to receive FSC certification would cost more than 31,000 jobs and reduce severance tax revenues by more than $6 million.

Furthermore, due to the FSC’s lower standards internationally compared to those in the United States, strict adherence to the FSC program also would cause global environmental damage.

Empowering many standards to compete against one another creates a dynamic process that enables all interested parties to discover the optimal balance across all of these divergent interests — or in this case, the extra economic (and possibly environmental damage) associated with FSC-certified wood products.

Our work illustrates that competitive certification programs are necessary to ensure both economic and environmental sustainability.

Donald Rieck and

Wayne Winegarden

Falls Church, Va.

Activists targeting Intel are misguided

I read your article (Activists target Intel’s permit, Oct. 31) with great interest since the majority of my neighbors are employed by Intel.

Isn’t it interesting that we have a retired school teacher and a former Washington County commissioner wanting to shut down Intel? I note that both are either on the Public Employees Retirement System or will be going on state retirement.

Where will their taxpayer support come from when Intel mothballs D1X and D2X, and outsources 6,000-plus jobs to China? However, if that happens, the air around Hillsboro will be cleaner — unless we have a strong westerly wind from China.

George Vennes

Northwest Portland