The U.S. Postal Service is vitally important for battling the twin calamities of the COVID-19 health and economic crises. The impact of the pandemic on the postal service's financial situation will damage its ability to provide crucial service to our country if decisive action isn't taken by Congress and the administration.
From medications to stimulus checks, from U.S. Census forms to ballots, from medical supplies (including test kits and the coming vaccine) to online orders, the postal service is indispensable to the American people, especially veterans, seniors, small businesses and those in rural areas.
The COVID-19 economic collapse has caused a 30% drop in mail volume with an expected 50% drop by summer. Postal revenues are falling precipitously. The Postmaster General predicts that the USPS will run out of money by September. The postal service needs a big infusion of funds to continue serving the American people.
The Postal Board of Governors, the postal service's bipartisan governing body, has called on Congress to appropriate $25 billion immediately and sufficient additional funds over time to sustain the service. Yet, the Trump administration has threatened to veto any stimulus package that provides genuine support to the postal service.
This administration is on record pushing for privatization of the USPS, which would result in big profits for the private owners, but higher prices and less service for the public. Allowing the USPS to go broke would be a setup to sell it off. For more information, go to USMailNotForSale.org
Lawmakers should expedite pandemic assistance
I am one of the thousands of independent contractors currently unemployed due to COVID-19. I have been self-employed for five years, and never once filed for unemployment. Something needs to be done to expedite pandemic assistance!
We are going to end up starving and homeless if nothing is done. Never mind reopening businesses as part of the Phase I plan. The focus should be on making sure residents are able to have their basic needs met — which means income and assistance.
I urge Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden to consider investing more resources in making sure Oregonians can afford to eat before reopening and requiring more expensive equipment on salons, massage therapists and other independent contractors.
Who's hoarding all the garbanzo beans?
Our struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in ways we never foresaw. One problem we now endure is shortages. Toilet paper, soap, disinfectants, frozen pizzas, the list goes on.
When we go to the grocery store, we see empty shelves. The grocers strive to restock foods quickly, but some patrons fear what they see today will be gone tomorrow. So, prudent shoppers buy more than what they need immediately, just in case.
I never fully realized how deep the disruption has become until last week, when I went to the store to buy garbanzo beans. I like hummus, a condiment often served in Greek and Lebanese restaurants. It is filled with protein and vitamins and few calories. A good snack. Hummus has become an important part of my diet. The dish is easy to prepare, and garbanzo beans are the principal ingredient. I use them frequently, but I was out.
At the shelf, I reached for three small cans of the beans but then I saw the sign: I could only take two. Not long before, they were selling 10 cans of garbanzos for $10. But I thought then buying all those at once would be greedy. Imprudent?
For garbanzo beans are now subject to rationing, as tires and gasoline during World War II.
I should not have been surprised. Stores are warning us that staple foods such as meat and fish may become less available. I guess hummus fans must share the burden.
We hear many loud complaints about who is responsible for our predicament. Yet, despite President Trump's intimations, I am sure President Obama is not responsible for the shortage of garbanzo beans.
As I wrote this paper, I was down to one can. I thought I had better go back and see if I could score another one. Lots of beans were on the shelves, white beans, cannellini beans, red beans, black beans, navy beans, baked beans. But no garbanzos.
Am I being punished for trying to do the right thing?
Bull Run filtration needed to protect people
With regard to the Bull Run water filtration project, I am fully behind funding.
It is, without a doubt, necessary to remove the potentially dangerous and deadly cryptosporidium from the Bull Run water. As a victim, having suffered with cryptosporidium a few years ago, I hope others do not come down with it. It is dreadful.
I urge our city council members to take this seriously and give us what we need, making us safe.
Apparently, we are not all in this together
To Gov. Kate Brown: We vulnerable seniors are now trapped in our homes to avoid getting COVID-19 from self-centered people like Glamor Hair in Salem. They are defiantly disobeying your ruling, and doing it publicly. They will continue to threaten other peoples' safety until you arrest them. Your inaction suggests that you are not on the side of safety.
Governor, I am alone and I need to get food and medicine. But as long as there are selfish people wandering the streets flouting your rules, I and other vulnerable people are at risk. Is this fair? I think not. This defiance would not happen in New York. Why? Because they have a strong governor.
Just because the White House gives people permission to do whatever they want, please remember this: You are in charge in Oregon. Listen to those who listen to science and safety; send out a clear signal to those who do not and arrest them.
My health care leader is Dr. (Anthony) Fauci. Who is yours?
Brown out of touch on business tax decisions
Your front-page article regarding Gov. Kate Brown and the new corporate (activities) tax (April 29) tells us all we need to know about Brown and the future of the state.
Admittedly, Brown has never run a business, made a payroll or balanced a checkbook. She apparently will never consider any set of circumstance or emergency facing those citizens who need to work for a living. Her exclusive world is one of more and higher taxes, with no thought of accountability or damage to real people in the state.
By cloaking her argument on the tired and worn out Student Success Act, Brown makes shallow, opaque and inaccurate statements to justify her illogical thinking. Couple this travesty with the reality that Sen. Betsy Johnson has warned us about (in the Tribune and elsewhere) for months, and we see a display of the cavalier arrogance Brown is known for.
Johnson, as a leading figure in the Salem financial community and legislative body, has told us the truth (warned us repeatedly), the bulk of this money will not go to any silly Student Success Act but will be diverted to funding the collapsing PERS fiasco that's devouring the state.
Brown and her peers are unaffected by the COVID-19 virus. Although she gives lip service to the devastation, her actions reflect a far different set of priorities. Businesses large and small are facing a problem never before considered in our nation's history. Business as usual is not an option, nor should taxation as usual be acceptable.
Brown is clearly not up to the task of creative governing. Her history is one of seeking more taxes for each and every issue or problem. By making inane statements like, "We are not talking about your local pizza shop, corner store or your barber," it makes it perfectly clear how out of touch Brown is with reality.
Higher taxes will cripple businesses and as those industries suffer, they will be less capable of supporting those smaller businesses (assuming Brown ever allows smaller businesses to open).
No, Brown is like a hologram, an imaginary thing that exists with no center or defined purpose other than to have the same sorry reaction to each problem she faces — raise taxes, lie about the intended purpose and never bother with accountability.
Businesses are suffering and Brown is not the person to understand their plight. (I say this just as Metro asks citizens for more money to fund another bureaucratic nightmare disguised as a "homeless" initiative). What are they thinking?
Road safety matters now more than ever
With all the COVID-19 going on, I think our citizens have forgot self-discipline.
I work in the Department of Transportation as a truck driver and I see so much more speeding on the highways and local streets.
Also, our citizens need to (check) their own vehicles for headlights being out, brake lights being out, etc. Make sure your vehicle is road worthy. Check your headlights, taillights and brake lights to make sure they are working. Have someone help you with this light check.
With our weather in the Pacific Northwest, you need to help keep yourself stay safe and keep other people safe at night and during our bad weather.
I have been fortunate to have been working through the COVID-19 virus, helping bring groceries and supplies to our citizens of the community.
Being 68 years old, I should have retired, but I just need to work, not only to keep myself healthy, but to help our citizens get the supplies they need.
We are all in this together, so let's keep each other safe and healthy!
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