Letters: City shuts down I-5 Rose Quarter project discussion
Due to opposition of the I-5 Rose Quarter Project by the Albina Vision Trust, the Portland City Council has issued a stop work order for Portland Bureau of Transportation, and slapped a gag order on any conversation related to coordinating efforts with Oregon's Department of Transportation and/or discussing the project with the public.
At the same time, PBOT ignores and/or rejects neighborhood and neighborhood association opposition to projects such as removing full service traffic lanes and/or parking on city streets like Sandy Boulevard. The so-called studies PBOT performs and then makes reference to have predetermined outcomes, and often fail to consider all the effects of increasing traffic congestion due to lanes being removed and the impacts to residential streets when on-street parking is removed on arterials.?
Additionally, there is little to no taxpaying motorist specific representation with seats at the table on PBOT citizen and advisory committees. Protester rioting in the streets can be called a peaceful form of freedom of speech, but at PBOT, there is a double standard as it applies to who is included and is actually listened to in any decision-making conversation.
Discrimination for the taxpaying public to exercise freedom of speech and have it actually mean something obviously exists at PBOT.?
Extremist groups are more similar than different
William Meulemans argues antifa and its street enemies believe the world is falling apart and only personal action can save it. What if your world has "fallen apart?"
To be sure, marches are not anti-democratic even if in some sense violent. Quite the opposite, when their purpose is to garner attention in the hope of changing minds or at least persuading others to think about issues. However, if the unconscious purpose is catharsis (perhaps also expiation) through combat/violence then an ostensive democratic purpose will likely be lost. If so, these groups ironically need each other to emotionally identify themselves and they are merely 'communicating' to each other.
As Meulemans argues, members of extremist groups are better understood in terms of similarities, such as dysfunctional family and social relationships. Such dysfunctionality (alienation, anomie) correlates with absence of gainful employment and poor prospects. We need to keep in mind that large declines in the economic prospects of America's working and lower middle classes since the late 1970s, due to offshoring and automation, have increased the prevalence of dysfunctional families and deteriorating mental health. Global economic transformations have left most such Americans with little or no economic value, they are like an endangered species. Their lives have lost meaning and they cannot recover it. As Nobel economist Angus Duncan and economist Anne Case have shown that also explains the "opiate crisis" in America.
Ordinary Americans followed the social rules (e.g., hard work, obedience) and lost. Voting has not changed their lives, corporations exploit them even when it needs them (e.g., Amazon's compensation). What's left besides personal action? America was founded on it, individualism requires it. We become extreme when we become desperate. People with political and economic power perpetuate the situation.
Prusak helped small business in time of need
My name is Esther Bedlion. I own and operate a small catering company called Catering Beyond Borders, with my husband and several employees. Our livelihood relies on people gathering. But to stop the spread of the pandemic, all events have been canceled since March.
A summer without weddings hurts.
With nowhere else to turn, I reached out to my state representative, Rachel Prusak. She took action immediately to help not only our small business but the other small businesses that we rely on to operate.
Rachel has been an amazing resource for my family and for our district. She found grants to keep us going, and connected us with families in the community suffering from the virus who needed prepared meals.
She is the reason why my family and our employees still have hope in this time of anxiety. I can personally vouch for her empathy, concern, and compassion. She took action instead of dodging responsibility or blaming others. That's why we need to make sure Rachel Prusak is reelected.
Immigration ban blocks some essential workers
(President) Donald Trump has used COVD-19 as a justification to continue his war on legal immigration, implementing a number of bans and restrictions for purported public safety reasons. What he and his enablers in Congress will not acknowledge is that one of his most recent actions is actually hindering efforts to fight COVID-19.
Trump issued an executive order suspending several categories of work visas through the end of 2020. This does not exempt medical engineers, scientists and others with expertise in testing and manufacturing, which in turn has made it difficult for needed medical workers to travel to the United States.
I have spent my career in public health and hospitals and this order baffles me. We need these researchers to find a cure or create a vaccine while ramping up manufacturing and distribution capabilities. The last thing we should be doing is limiting the ability of that industry to safely bring together leading experts on U.S. soil.
Congress needs to ensure that Trump's ill-advised war on immigration does not include workers who are essential to pandemic response.
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