I read your Sept. 12 front-page story about the possible consequences faced by the 15-year-old Vancouver boy suspected of starting the 34,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire. No one is talking about the best punishment of all: The young man, and his audience of giggling little friends, should have to help replant the 3,000 damaged trees that had to be felled near the I-84 freeway, for starters. When that's completed, the culprits could start in on clearing debris from ravaged hiking trails.
Of course, the boy responsible is innocent until proven guilty. If such a verdict were to be handed down, two years of replanting work seems the most appropriate punishment.
Underfunded? Collect delinquent taxes
Your editorial titled "Oregon ablaze: Let's take steps to minimize future fires" Sept. 12 Tribune) states that the Forest Service is underfunded. It is. But every federal agency is underfunded. This underfunding is a direct result of the reduction of staff at the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is understaffed by about 30,000 people, or about 30 percent. This has resulted in the failure to collect trillions of dollars of assessed and unassessed taxes.
All the members of Congress have to do to help solve the financial problems of the United States is to fully staff the IRS and collect the trillions of dollars of delinquent taxes.
Don't turn against our neighbors
Trump's decision with DACA harms our community while ignoring the issues causing people to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to their families and leave their home countries. One key issue is the North American Free Trade Agreement currently being renegotiated.
NAFTA destroyed Mexico's corn-based economy by dumping large amounts of cheaply produced corn on the Mexican market at prices farmers could not compete. Unable to make a living by growing corn, rural Mexicans move to where they find work, in the sweatshops that U.S. corporations were setting up in Northern Mexico just across the border where wages are lower and there are fewer environmental and labor regulations.
Before long, many of these exploited workers, already displaced, cross the border in search of work. But our economic policies, specifically NAFTA, largely create that need.
The Trump administration, with secret negotiations happening behind closed doors (and corporate lobbyists at the table), is poised to create another deal that creates economic rules to benefit big business while throwing U.S. and Mexican workers under the bus. We cannot be fooled into turning against our neighbors when we are all victims of a system which allows corporations to cross borders but people cannot.
Looking for logic in DACA
Is this too simple to understand? If I take my family to Disneyland and sneak my kids in without paying, then get caught, would it come as a surprise if my family is escorted out of the park? Would that be considered cruel or unjust? Would my underage kids be allowed to stay and wander throughout the park with no money or supervision?
Can I go to any casino in operation in America and be allowed to play Texas Hold 'Em without ante money? Would there be no "buy-in" and would I be allowed access to the same "pot" if I didn't ante up the cost of entry?
Trying to figure the logic here and to find some sort of analogy. So far ... it hasn't worked.
'Payback' plan needs amending
A grand "yes" to the Portland Housing Bureau's plan to compensate homeowners — or their heirs — pushed out of Albina and other Portland neighborhoods by gentrification. It is an excellent start to make up for an earlier wrong.
However, the plan seriously needs to be amended to allow people the choice of buying a home wherever they want to, at least within Portland and perhaps in surrounding counties, if legal, based on the source of the funds.
Forcing the narrow "return only" option has at least two problems. One, it has a paternalistic ring implying the city knows what is best while some eligible people may want to use the compensation funds, but buy elsewhere. Two, because the program will apply to children and grandchildren of those originally pushed out, the "return only" choice may well be unusable to generations who may never have lived in the old neighborhoods. Perhaps some heirs have lives bound up in completely different neighborhoods, their children in school, their work nearby, etc.
The idea is to compensate fairly — and whether people move back or not, possibly to an area where they themselves never lived, should not determine the right to "payback" or lead to eligible individuals and families not really able to take up the offer.
Please revise to allow the compensation to be used for home buying in the old neighborhoods or in the broadest area legally possible.
Portland government needs new model
Kudos to Dana Haynes for speaking out about Portland's byzantine and ineffective form of government ("Texas style of government is poor model," Sept. 5 My View). Haynes knows the territory as an insider. Add to this former commissioner Steve Novick's own criticism of the system and its silos of bureaucracy.
Portland citizens should try again to vote for a city manager and an expanded City Council elected by districts. Let's get something on the ballot for 2018 and end Portland's outdated and unrepresentative form of government.