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This week's letters in the News-Times include thoughts on climate change and redistricting, as well as a short poem.

Advocate for stronger environmental regulations

It's been a summer of extreme climate impacts, from wildfires and smoke, to drought and extreme heat. It's easy to feel powerless about this, but there's something we can do to act on climate change right now.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has released regulatory language for its Climate Protection Program (CPP). These rules will decide whether Oregon follows through on its climate commitments, or simply creates something that looks good on paper.

Oregon deserves a climate program that will hold all of the largest polluters accountable and promote equity as the state transitions to a clean energy future.

One of the most impactful improvements DEQ can make to their current proposal is to increase the program's ambition, consistent with a 50% pollution reduction by 2030.

Our window of time to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change is rapidly closing. Without strong, measurable targets and a declining cap on climate pollution, Oregon's program will not live up to its name. DEQ must strengthen Oregon's program to truly protect our climate and the Oregon way of life.

Margaret Smith, Forest Grove

Republicans don't play fair, either

I agree with the "Our Opinion" editorial, "It's past time for independent redistricting," that, ideally, a nonpartisan "jury" of sorts is needed for the re-drawing of districts.

However, the editors create a false equivalency between the two political parties, regarding their accountability during this redistricting issue.

By pointing out that the secretary of state "explicitly ran … on a platform of championing her party's progressive wing, and appealing to labor interests", the editors indirectly imply that Secretary Shemia Fagan's "platform" might get in the way of her impartiality, should the redistricting responsibility come to her desk. (At this writing, Gov. Kate Brown has signed off on a plan; two Democrats did vote against it.)

Read our editorial on redistricting reform, first published online Sept. 22, 2021.

These editors have forgotten that, after the 2020 election, Oregon's Republican lawmakers, including the Republican candidate for secretary of state, had signed a letter to Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, wanting her to join a Donald Trump-initiated lawsuit with other states' Republican attorneys general to basically overturn those results. They did this after throwing several legislative temper tantrums during recent sessions, taking their political marbles and going home, because they lacked the votes to get their way on certain issues, thus holding up the citizens' business.

Also, Speaker Tina Kotek withdrew the redistricting arrangement because the Republicans were essentially demanding much more than that to which they were entitled.

Frankly, considering that the Democratic lawmakers, and Secretary Fagan, generally seem to have more of the public's interests in mind, I am inclined to trust this newly passed plan, because the Republicans showed their unwillingness to respect how people voted.

If Republicans want "fairness", then they should "play fair" themselves. When they do not, how things play out is more than just a Democratic-leaning result; it is a foregone conclusion.

Brian McGahren, Tigard

Gathering for Mrs. Brown

laughter and mingling chatter

warms hugs and 'how are you?'

coffee, tea, lemonade and water

tables to sit and reminisce

a writing area for Shannon Stories

continuous feed of photos

of a woman who loved

and was honest with children

a note scrawled on wide-lined paper

'Mrs. Brown, I think

you are the best teacher ever!'

a tall high school senior who

for his graduation party

wanted only immediate family

and Mrs. Brown

an afternoon of dropping by

the elementary school gym

freely to share in the love

and to honor a teacher

and friend

like no other

MaryJane Nordgren, Forest Grove


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