Letters: DEQ protects companies that pollute
Regarding "Lawsuit: Bullseye a scapegoat" (Dec. 14 Tribune): Ironically, Bullseye Glass has a valid suit; it is a scapegoat. Oregon DEQ has assiduously avoided monitoring toxic emissions from industries. DEQ has acted to protect polluting firms from higher costs of reducing their pollution. That's why DEQ management ignored the Forest Service's air pollution data until public outrage forced their hand.
Had DEQ done its job, polluting firms would have reduced their contributions to Salem politicians. I suspect Bullseye either did not contribute or was low on the list. DEQ bureaucrats also were mindful of their interests in the revolving door. Oregon DEQ is a sterling example of regulatory capture.
DEQ easily could identify and monitor firms engaged in using toxic chemicals identified by the EPA. It is a simple matter to identify industrial processes that use or emit toxic chemicals and to identify firms involved in their use, and then monitor them. But that would risk the aforementioned collection of symbiotic private interests.
Scapegoats, sacrificial victims, feel good legislation and other forms of symbolism are the American way of solving political problems in a society ossified by conflicting private and public interests.
Going in the direction of California
Is Oregon, and particularly Portland, facing the same type of housing crisis that California, particularly San Francisco, is facing?
I refer to your Dec. 14 article "Lawmaker says housing must be core responsibility of state." Oregon is facing a housing crisis — and what are the solutions?
In California, if you want to buy a home, you have to make $120,000 annually to even qualify. Are we heading in that same direction?
It used to be that one of the main goals of Americans was to own a home they could call their own. But that's no longer possible since most families are being priced out of the market with little or no alternative in reaching that goal.
Homes are being built, but the question is, who can afford them? Renting used to be an alternative for the middle class, but no longer since rent is increasing yearly to the point that only the very rich can even afford to rent.
If middle-income housing is being built, who can afford to buy it and what is the income that Oregonians must make to even qualify to get a loan? We truly are facing a crisis here as in California. For most of us, simply building more homes in the price range of $250,000, $500,000 or $1 million is out of our reach.
We keep hearing about affordable housing, but what is affordable housing if no one can qualify to get a loan to meet the cost?
Something I am seeing in East County is people now sleeping on the streets, in cardboard shacks in vacant lots and even tents. Is this really acceptable, and did God really intend for human beings to live in such deplorable conditions?
Wages are not keeping up with the cost of housing, property taxes or rent payments. Even if your income increases, your hours are being cut, which directly affects any boost you might achieve.
Louis H. Bowerman