Letters: Rules should be the same for all
When I applied to open a B&B in my Portland home in 2011, there were many hoops to jump through and considerable expense: a parking survey, notification of nearby property owners and the neighborhood association, a life safety inspection that required me to replace windows so that a fully outfitted firefighter could gain access in an emergency, and installation of hard-wired smoke alarms.
After months of compliance activities, I was able to open. Yet a few years later, when Airbnb blew in, the city required none of that, aside from a nominal fee and a cursory inspection of host premises.
Even that token procedure was too onerous, it seems. Not only did only a tiny fraction of local Airbnb hosts comply but, unbelievably, the company refused to reveal to regulators the names of those who ignored the "requirement."
And now the plan seems to be to let hosts register online without any inspection at all. Shame on the city of Portland for penalizing those who comply with its rules and rewarding those who don't. We can only hope that Airbnb hosts will provide a safe environment for their future guests.
What would-be heroes should think about
OK, you have your gun and your concealed weapon permit. Let's consider a couple of scenarios where you have your chance to be a hero.
You are faced with an intruder holding what looks like a real gun and making threats. Is the gun real? Is it loaded? Are the threats real?
If you hesitate to consider the dilemma you could end up dead. Knowing this, you fire without hesitating and shoot the intruder dead. If the intruder's gun is real and loaded, you are the hero.
But what if you find the gun is fake or unloaded — there clearly was no intent to use it. Now how do you feel?
Another scenario: You find yourself in an active shooter situation. Shots have been fired — no dilemma. Clearly you should draw your gun, but what if innocent people are in your line of fire (between you and the shooter or beyond the shooter)? Or what if you fire and miss or lightly wound the shooter?
This is not the comfortable situation where you performed so spectacularly at the gun range. Now you're in a shootout that you might not win.
I suggest that anyone wanting active defense in these (remotely possible) situations should consider having a high-capacity canister of long-range pepper spray (bear spray). Mistakes can be remedied. Aim is quickly and easily corrected.
There are hazards to having pepper spray around but not nearly of the magnitude of the hazard of a loaded gun.
Replace NAFTA, but don't make it worse
President Trump must secure a new deal that eliminates the North American Free Trade Agreement's incentives to outsource American jobs and levels the playing field by adding strong labor and environmental provisions with swift and certain enforcement to raise wages for all workers.
Oregon has lost 12,000 of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA and other similar trade deals went into effect.
More than 68,000 specific Oregon jobs have been certified under just one narrow government program as lost to outsourcing or imports under NAFTA. Every week NAFTA helps corporations outsource more middle-class jobs to Canada and Mexico, including recently at GE, Carrier and Nabisco.
According to the Department of Labor, manufacturing workers who lose jobs to trade and find re-employment typically are forced to take pay cuts.
Two of every five rehired in 2016 were paid less in their new jobs. One in four lost greater than 20 percent of their income. That means a $7,700 pay cut for the median-wage manufacturing worker earning $38,000.
This is opposite of what NAFTA boosters promised 23 years ago when the deal was debated by Congress. They promised that NAFTA would improve the U.S. trade balance with Mexico and Canada, and create 200,000 new jobs each of NAFTA's first five years.
Meanwhile, corporations have collected more than $392 million in taxpayer money using NAFTA's "investor-state" tribunals where corporations can sue governments before panels of three private lawyers to demand unlimited sums of taxpayer funds over our environmental and health laws that they claim violate the corporations' NAFTA rights.
We want a NAFTA replacement that raises wages and creates good jobs for people in Oregon and across the nation.
(Bob Tackett is the executive secretary-treasurer of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council.)