Readers write in about the border wall, foreign policy, state records law and climate change.

Native American opposes Trump's border wall

I am writing to Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden from a packed TriMet MAX regarding the wall issue.

As a Native American, my word here in this letter carries a lot of weight. I am against building the wall. Others may think: Why would an indigenous human be against this action? Our land has already been invaded, so one would think we would to stop that. If they were truly knowledgeable about indigenous people, they won't be questioning that. They will understand. The No. 1 thing our culture cares about, besides the land, is community.

Putting up the wall will destroy many communities and further negatively impact the already awful immigration system. These are humans we are talking about. Humans with families living in a country that is failing to provide them with what they need to thrive. America was founded with principle of making a home for those who have no home. Yes, it caused lots of genocide amongst my people, but I believe the best way to respect my ancestors is by continuing to show others respect, and most importantly, community. I know we already struggle with providing for our current residents, but that fault lies in our government, not in immigration.

There is a way to balance this. I believe in my senators to do what is right.

Vanessa Wardwell, Beaverton

Congress should focus on U.S., not Israel

I can't believe with the current government shutdown that the first Senate bill introduced this year was the combating BDS bill, S.1 by Sen Marco Rubio of Florida. Eight hundred thousand federal workers aren't being paid while the Senate is playing political games. Instead of addressing the business of this country, it's addressing the concerns of a foreign country.

Sen. Mitch McConnell has already forced a second vote within 24 hours after the bill's first defeat, Jan. 8 then Jan. 10, and is now trying for a third vote to pass this unconstitutional bill. This bill also seeks to fund Israel with $38 billion. Just think of all the issues our country and communities could address with that kind of money, things from infrastructure, jobs, education to homeless children.

I think we need to take care of our country's needs first. If Israel were really a friend to this country, it would not be asking us for more and more money considering all the problems our country needs to address and fix.

To make matters worse, the House just passed a bill, HR 221, by a vote of 411-1 to force the president to name an anti-Semitism envoy to monitor criticism of Israel. When is the House going to write a bill to monitor criticism of Germany or Mexico or any other country or religion?

We always hear about separation of church and state. I think this also implies separation of synagogue and state.

These bills are dangerous to our Republic by violating our First Amendment rights of free speech and the right to boycott. Please write or contact your senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and tell them not to support these bills.

Thomas Gonzales, Hillsboro

Restricting public access to records?

The introduction of Senate Bill 609 by Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, would amend Oregon state law (ORS 192.314) which reads: "In order to invoke the right to inspect a public record, a requester must make the request in writing and must state with particularity: (a) a description of the records being sought; and (b) a statement of how the requester intends to use the requested records."

If passed, SB 609 will truly be an attack on our democracy. The public's ability to have unabridged access to public records to use freely as they wish will be gone.

Johnson claims she is introducing this bill as a favor to now-retired colleague Debbie Boone. She must feel the same as Boone, however, if she is introducing this bill, because why would anyone support something they did not believe in? What purpose does this bill reflect other than government controlling the freedom of information from its citizens?

In the original statute, it allows the citizen the freedom to use public documents without disclosure. The bill/amendment requires the citizen to disclose what they intend to do with the public records. 

I am appalled with this entire bill. Why is it anyone's business what anyone uses public records for? "Public" means "public" — period. If a person does not disclose what they intend to use the information for, will they be sued by the government for not using the information for what they originally said they were going to use it for? Is this a perjury trap?

I think in good conscience, Sen. Johnson should withdraw this over-reaching legislation. This is a thinly veiled attempt to curb public records requests; it is a sneaky way to keep the public from knowing what their government is doing and to keep the citizens from participating in their government.

What do they have to hide?

Sen. Johnson needs to re-examine President Abraham Lincoln's famous speech, which he addressed at Gettysburg: "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Sen. Johnson, you certainly are attempting to expire the people from their government.

Tammy Maygra, Deer Island

Action needed to keep hopes of carbon-neutral future alive

Am I the only one who's been freaking out since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their 2018 report telling us that we had 12 (is it 11 now!?) years to get ourselves carbon-neutral or face some seriously huge consequences?

I know we've been torpedoed with so much bad news lately that even the most committed among us have lost our fervor for outrage — but this sounding alarm seemed to disappear from the public conversation a little too fast. After a few months of feeling depressed and hopeless, I decided we didn't have any more time for depressed or hopeless, and I hope you'll join me.

Right now, Pembina, a Canadian company, is trying to build a 229-mile fracked gas pipeline and export terminal in Southern Oregon to ship liquefied fracked gas to Asian markets. In addition to all the clear-cutting and compromised waterways necessary for this project, we have no chance of meeting our Paris Agreement targets if we keep building new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Luckily, we can stop this! 350PDX has had lots of success in the past preventing these projects by interrupting their permitting by submitting public comments. Head over to to learn how before the deadline on Feb. 3. Don't give up, we still have a chance!

Suzie Kassouf, Portland

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