Letters: New Metro tax request is poorly timed
We already are struggling to cope with the economic crisis. My restaurant — Biscuits Cafe — is empty. My employees are laid off. While we are grateful for the customers who call us, our to-go orders aren't paying our bills.
It will take all of us a long time to recover from the economic crisis we are in.
I couldn't believe it when I heard that Metro has new income tax requests on the May ballot. I was shocked. Adding new tax burdens now on any of us — personally or business — is a punch in the gut.
Metro should have a better hand on the pulse of what is going on and not push for two new taxes. Especially not now. A new personal income tax as well as a new business income tax is unacceptable. I'm for sure a "no" vote on the Metro income tax Measure 26-210.
Saultz is best candidate for House
Oregon's foster care crisis needs attention. With over 4,000 children in foster care hoping for a "forever family," stories of terrible living conditions and neglect have become far too common and are unacceptable. Children are being shipped out of state because our overburdened and underfunded system is not equipped to provide for all the children who need help.
House District 33 candidate Andy Saultz is committed to finding the necessary funds to improve our system, lower the caseloads for our overburdened caseworkers, and help the young Oregonians who need it the most. As an educator, Saultz also will work to improve the dismal 2% college graduation rate for foster children.
When the voters of HD 33 fill out their ballots, I urge them to think about the children in our foster system who so desperately need help. Saultz will be a strong leader and deliver for these children. He is someone the voters can trust.
Adams' time at City Club mischaracterized
I was quite surprised at the Tribune's characterization of Sam Adams' tenure at the City Club of Portland, in your endorsement piece for Commissioner Position 4.
I have been a City Club member for over 30 years, have served as the club's president and was acting executive director prior to Adams taking that position (and part of the search team that selected him). While there may be some club members who had concerns about the club's approach to diversifying membership and expanding the community voices heard in the club's programming and in its research during Adams' tenure, there is simply no factual basis to anyone criticizing his impact on the club's financial performance.
Just checking the club's 990s or its annual reports will provide the data that during Adams' first full year as executive director (2012-13), the club increased support/sponsorship and revenues by almost $170,000 and during his second year (2013-14) by $140,000. The club enjoyed operating surpluses of almost $130,000 during his tenure, along with historically strong sponsorship and membership levels.
I wish you and your editorial team had done more homework before taking the word of "insiders" (who evidently can't read financial statements) that his budget performance "nearly capsized the organization."
In face of virus, end sanctions against Iran
The people of Iran are suffering due to COVID-19. As of Sunday, April 26, Iran reports 5,710 deaths and 90,481 cases.
This in and of itself should immediately inspire the U.S. government to do everything it can to help alleviate the suffering and to stop the spread of this virus. Yet the government is doing the exact opposite. It continues to impose sanctions against Iran, preventing lifesaving medical supplies from reaching them.
These sanctions are inhumane to say the least. They cause death and further the spread of COVID-19. Since this is a pandemic, these sanctions put the whole world at risk, not just the people of Iran.
Sanctions against Iran that cripple the nation's ability to treat those who suffer and stop the spread of COVID-19 constitute a hostile act of aggression against the Iranian people. These sanctions, for practical purposes, truly are a biological attack on the people of Iran. Is that who we are as Americans?
Metro's new tax measure needs greater explanation
The issue of homelessness is troubling. I'm saddened, and I'm sure most of us are, when I see people in such desperation. But putting new taxes on the ballot right now amid so many economic unknowns is not the way to help.
Metro says it has been working on this measure for several years. I believe them. But they should have worked on it a little longer and supplied more detail of how they are going to implement, manage and spend the estimated $250 million in new taxes this measure will bring to Metro.
It's a lot of money to be taken from people and businesses who could spend the $250 million on necessities like rent, employee salaries and day-to-day business survival.
I try to take a thoughtful look at tax measures and tend to agree with most of them. This one has bad timing and too few details in it for me to support. I'm a "no" vote on the Metro income tax measure 26-210.
Where has all the traffic gone?
Yes, I noticed the traffic has vanished. A couple of trips that usually took about 50 to 55 minutes took less than 20 minutes. No traffic is not only a timesaver, but saves fuel and creates less air pollution.
With a 64% reduction in traffic we can move as fast as 20 years ago, before Portland stopped increasing road capacity. Consider this: If we built 36% more road capacity instead of spending billions on MAX trains, we would all gain more hours to spend with our families.
A big chunk of Portland center traffic comes from Washington County and clogs up Portland freeways on its way to Interstate 5. To start, we could build a Portland bypass to a third utilitarian bridge across the Columbia downriver. Instead of spending billions more on the Southwest Corridor MAX project, why don't we better invest that money to increase our road capacity to meet our needs?
Washington, D.C., already has indicated that COVID-19 recovery will include lots of new infrastructure money; switching the MAX money to roads meets newer government criteria.
Is new street tax for cars or bikes?
With over $1 billion of deferred street maintenance after decades of siphoning off and spending millions of motorist paid tax dollars to build a Cadillac-like system of privileged bicycle infrastructure for a small demographic of the population (8%); and with a transit system where one two-axle bus does as much damage to the streets as 1,200 cars in addition to being subsidized at approximately 65 cents per passenger mile; Portland truly has an inequitable and unsustainable system of assessing transportation infrastructure taxes.??
Likewise, with the absence of motorist-specific seats at the table on PBOT advisory committees that should be equitably based on the mode split, taxpaying motorists have no voice within the official decision-making process. This inequity is taxation without representation.
Auto "usage" has been providing some of the largest subsidies to transit, including paying for infrastructure and vehicles from the federal gas tax. Bicycle activists want everything for free as if separated bicycle infrastructure is an entitlement.
Motorists should be appreciated and valued for the subsidies they provide. Yet the rhetoric from the alternative mode advocates has been to get people out of their cars. Now?, as if their aspiration has come true?, due to ?the? coronavirus pandemic and the stay-at-home social distancing orders, people are not going anywhere and therefore not driving.?
And now that the wannabe alternative-mode dictators seem to be getting their way (at least in the short term), the big oops: PBOT is expecting a $7 million-a-month loss of parking and gas tax revenue.
The real problem here is we all should have been in this together with the users of all modes paying their share for infrastructure they use. Driving is about the only way to get from here to there while ensuring social distancing.
With businesses closed and likely a long-term downturn in the economy, now is the time to make a course correction to establish equity. Instead of expecting more dollars from motorists, an equitable pathway forward must include new revenue streams such as establishing a bicycle license and registration fee of no less than $60 a year, and making transit far more financially self-sustainable.
Pandemic shows need for Reynolds in state House
As we all experience the difficulties caused by the pandemic, someone who gives me hope is Dr. Lisa Reynolds, Democratic candidate for House District 36, where I live.
Her website (LisaForOregon.com) provides the latest information on COVID-19.
I am most encouraged by the medical expertise that Reynolds will bring to the Oregon Legislature. As a pediatrician and small-business owner, she deeply understands the medical and economic aspects of this pandemic. And Reynolds has a plan for recovery.
The main focus of the 2021-22 legislative session will be dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on all Oregonians. We need Reynolds' compassion, medical experience, fresh perspective and forward-thinking to craft a path forward for Oregon.
Please join me in voting for Dr. Lisa Reynolds for state representative in District 36.
Cheryl J. McDowell
McLeod-Skinner has experience we need
Oregonians, we have an opportunity to put forward an excellent progressive Democrat from eastern Oregonian in this May primary.
Her name is Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and she is running for secretary of state. She is the only candidate who does not take corporate money, and will be accountable only to us — the voters.
McLeod-Skinner has used her skills as a project manager to rebuild hospitals and schools in war zones, helping our troops keep the peace. She served for eight years as a city councilor, developing and implementing policy for a diverse citizenry to increase political participation.
With her background as an environmental planner committed to sustainability, McLeod-Skinner is the only person with the knowledge to manage our state lands and waterways. Most importantly, she has a record of bringing people together. She's famously traveled over 60,000 miles across Oregon, listening and learning about what the people of this state want and need to have done in Salem.
How about electing someone who can help us move through the logjam in Salem and toward progress? Join me in supporting Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the May 19 primary. She's the leader we need right now.
Brown should provide cash to first responders
On the first day of the Legislature Emergency Board, Gov. Kate Brown was given $5 million to execute an executive order on climate change and promptly held a news conference to tout her intent.
While I do not wish to minimize in any way the need to address climate change, why in in the hell was that money not used to mitigate the coronavirus needs of first responders, including my son.
What were Brown, Peter Courtney and Tina Kotek thinking? Move the money where it belongs.
People not taking virus concerns seriously
I ran a couple no-contact errands today. The grocery parking lots are full. I was out about an hour and saw not more than 10% wearing masks.
I asked one clerk why he wasn't wearing a mask. His response was that he had one but only used it if someone was coughing. I live on a normally busy street and it's gotten busier every day.
The public is not getting the message.
After virus, climate change is next threat
With the coronavirus grabbing all the media headlines, it has covered up a more prolonged crisis that had been slowly gaining traction in the media.
News coverage of climate change and its impacts were heightening public awareness and rapidly building pressure on elected officials and industries to take accountability for the climate. In Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler prepared a climate emergency resolution and the City Council tried to oppose the Rose Quarter freeway and Zenith oil terminal expansion.
Yet since the pandemic hit, they have allowed the freeway expansion to go through and have taken no action on Zenith. Nationally, the EPA has halted regulation, and bailouts aim to preserve polluting industries. Construction on the Jordan Cove and Coastal GasLink pipelines continues even as the resistance led by local and indigenous people is stymied.
The cracks in the social safety net that the pandemic is revealing are caused by the same system that failed to defend the climate. The focus on profits over people and over the environment fuels both of these crises. As climate change pushes animal habitats into closer contact with humans, diseases like COVID-19 will become more common.
Long after we have flattened the curve on COVID-19, the curve of climate change will still be rising. We cannot afford to lose our progress and our momentum toward saving the environment.
Please remember our obligation to our future generations, as well as to each other.
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