Letters: Oregon effort won't solve climate change
A proposed carbon emissions bill builds on an earlier version of the cap-and-trade legislation known as the clean energy jobs bill that lawmakers considered but failed to pass during the last session.
House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney, both Democrats, have been working on the new version since last summer.
Oregonians emit less than one-sixth of 1% (0.14%) of global carbon. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Director Richard Whitman testified in a legislative committee meeting that, "Oregon's portion of global carbon emissions is 'zero.'"
Philip Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research, also testified in this meeting that "if Oregon were to reduce its carbon emissions to zero, the impact on global emissions would be zero."
In spite of Oregon's zero impact on global carbon emissions and global warming, why are the Democratic Oregon legislators voting to kill Oregon jobs and increase fuel costs and taxes that will impact hardworking families for generations — those who can least afford it? Implementing their tax-and-trade scheme will do absolutely nothing to reduce the global carbon problem.
I encourage everyone with an open mind to research who the largest contributors to carbon emissions are and focus their efforts in that direction. That would be Asia and many other underdeveloped countries.
This is just another example of pushing forth their agenda strictly for political gain at the expense of those who can least afford it. "Clean energy jobs bill" is truly a misnomer.
(Editor's note: This letter was written before the Legislature's abrupt end last week.)
Everyone knows the real Trump now
A lot of voters were confused with Hillary Clinton running (in 2016). Now no one is confused.
Such is the case with the Trumplandian/Republican/fascist philosophy of lying, cheating and stealing as the foundation of the American dream.
That is the unvarnished truth and everyone knows it. Don't you, really? Beware. There is a final judgment, and you are you forever.
Good program provides health care for seniors
Many Oregonians are stretching limited budgets, with health care being a prime concern. Consequently, it is important to put health care costs and benefits at the top of politicians' agendas. I'm hoping that they recognize a program that is really working for people like me — Medicare Advantage.
This program improves on traditional Medicare by offering comprehensive coverage, including everything needed, with low monthly premiums. And most services cost a few dollars in co-pay. That way, seniors on lower incomes can go to the doctor when they're experiencing an issue, rather than waiting until it gets worse.
Plus, Medicare Advantage makes preventive and wellness care free. Seniors can get a check-up or be screened for diabetes, heart disease, cancer or other issues at no cost. Advantage programs also include chronic disease management programs, nutritional counseling and much more.
Medicare Advantage makes quality health care available to underserved seniors.
I appreciate that Congress made some important improvements last year and more are coming for this year. But it is important that our legislators understand that more needs to be done to keep health care affordable for seniors.
ODOT, please change merger signs
Road rage frequently crops up in the Portland area when drivers using zipper-merge and drivers using single-line-merge share the freeway.
Recently, a driver appealed to Judge John Hodgman: "Please order Portland to get on board with the zipper merge."
Oregon's Department of Transportation advocates zipper-merge (use both lanes all the way to the merge point), but uses signage that shows a single-line merge (leave the deprecated lane as soon as possible). Could ODOT replace that with signage that shows zipper merge?
Small fee could fund Wapato Hope Center
Finally. The vacant Wapato Corrections Facility has hope. As in the Bybee Lakes Hope Center.
Having read your articles in the Tribune, I fully support such an endeavor. Obviously, Helping Hands is an established organization and has motivated folks operating a number of centers.
As a native Portlander, I am delighted to see someone breathe new life into this ghostlike building that has longed for a purpose. "What if we built it for $58 million and nobody used it? ... Now there's a good idea! Let's do that." So they did.
Fast forward to 2020 and the homeless crisis is off the chart. The politicians can tweak the numbers in a manner that maybe suits their agenda, but the hard facts remain. More folks are homeless in Portland.
I have tasted the bitterness of homelessness as a senior citizen, and it is not pleasant. It's both embarrassing and humiliating. Certainly for someone who worked hard for 40-plus years.
Back to that Wapato cost: A few years ago, I submitted a letter to the Tribune suggesting a funding solution. Simply put, why not $2-per-resident-per month in the form of a "fee"' or donation. The math is astounding.
Yes, Portlanders likely would launch a wave of pushback, as we already are enduring a plethora of taxes. Yet we complain about homeless camps multiplying like rabbits. Rightfully so.
Win-win is a good thing. Together, we can accomplish much for our city and Multnomah County. Maybe other counties, too.
Mark L. Brown
Medicare Advantage hinges on election
The future of health care may hang in the balance of the 2020 elections. We're hearing plans to reform our current system, but much of the debate surrounds insurance for working-age people. It's unclear how changes might affect older Americans' health coverage, including Medicare Advantage.
As an advocate for Oregon's senior citizens and a senior myself, I'm monitoring what our congressional delegation says about Medicare Advantage and, most importantly, the actions they take to protect it.
Medicare Advantage is an important alternative to traditional Medicare. Under Medicare, services are a la carte and seniors pay 20% of the cost. Medicare Advantage, however, provides a choice of all-in-one health plans.
I live on a fixed income, and I appreciate the value of my Medicare Advantage plan because of the large network of health care providers. Surprisingly, I pay little for such quality insurance. Prescription drug coverage is included, so I don't spend extra on a drug plan. I can add vision, dental and hearing insurance for a few dollars, too.
Medicare Advantage includes free wellness care, like nutritional counseling, chronic disease management assistance and fitness memberships. Many plans even go the extra mile with free transportation to medical appointments. Add up all the contributions Oregon's seniors make here locally, and our communities are better off with this affordable coverage.
The question is whether Medicare Advantage will continue as-is. Each year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services adjust the program's structure, and this can affect seniors' benefits and costs. It's vital that the agency hear from lawmakers underscoring the need to enhance, not diminish, Medicare Advantage.
Standing up for seniors' health care is a reliable way for any senator or representative to shore up support among older Oregonians — because a commitment to our health and well-being really matters.
What happens if more homeless come here?
Having read the stories about Portland's homeless issues in the Tribune and many earlier issues, and as the co-founder of the first homeless shelter in Richmond, Virginia, many years ago, I am wondering what happens if and when we provide enough shelter for the homeless we now have in Portland, only to find ourselves inundated with a new influx the following year and the year after that?
Or will there be a policy forbidding camping and sleeping outside at that time and instead sending newly homeless to an intake center to be counseled and accommodated?
So much more thought has to be given, and the research results published, about the whole homeless phenomenon now and at least 10 years out, before we can ask our taxpayers to shell out more and more money, with likely questionable results.
Get our political train back on rails
Years ago, when microbrew prices rose above $6.79 a six pack, I stopped drinking beer at home and now indulge only when dining out.
After moving to Columbia County, I started limiting purchases that require bottle deposits because local bottle machines always seemed dirty or inoperable. But when the bottle deposit was raised to 10 cents that was the end of bottled anything.
The state has increased minimum wage above $10 per hour on its way to $15, yet they still expect customers to pay tips, and now charge 5 cents for bags if you don't use your own. Then there is the question of plastic straws. Trickle, trickle, there goes the state tax machine along with our personal freedoms.
Writing frankly, under the two-party political system we now have a national populist in the White House and a radical Marxist who has run for president in the last two general elections. These views are creeping into our local and state politics.
I can do without alcohol, straws, ice, plastic shopping bags, and I do not have to tip when dining out or buy bottles of anything that require deposit, but I cannot support any form of socialism. I'm getting tired of the national populism now on display in Washington, D.C.
It's an election year and as a registered nonaffiliated voter I challenge all voters, including the nonaffiliated ones, to think outside the box and work together to put our political train back on the rails.
Columbia City, Oregon
Nosse, Steiner Hayward aid support professionals
State Rep. Rob Nosse and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward deserved a round of applause for taking action during the 2019 legislative session to increase wages for Oregon's direct-support professionals. The need to invest in these caregivers was greater than ever and Nosse and Steiner Hayward took on the challenge and got the job done.
There are more than 30,000 Oregonians who experience intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. These children, teens and adults rely on direct-support professionals to provide them with 24-hour residential care to maintain safe, healthy and independent lives.
Direct-support professionals perform physically, mentally and emotionally challenging work, yet the average hourly wage was below $14, which resulted in increased turnover rates and an inability for employers, like Albertina Kerr, to retain and compete for the best employees.
Oregon's direct-support professionals needed our Legislature to invest in them, and thankfully they did.
Direct-support professionals are some of the most dedicated and loyal professionals I know. They demonstrate patience, compassion, and a high level of attention to detail every day, while providing critical services for people experiencing intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
They empower our clients to lead self-determined lives and reach their full potential.
Direct-support professionals deserve to feel valued for the important work they do, and thanks to the support of Nosse and Steiner Hayward they will.
Nosse and Steiner Hayward listened when we came to the Capitol and agreed that the time to invest was now. Thank you both for supporting House Bill 5026 and giving Oregon's direct-support professionals an overdue wage increase.
Jeff Carr, Albertina Kerr CEO
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