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Does Tootie Smith's Thanksgiving invitation make her a good leader? Not all our readers think so.

Regardless of political affiliation the Biden presidency is a win for low-income citizens. This is blatantly clear in comparing the current leader of the Department of Housing and Urban Development with the appointee to head Biden's HUD transition team.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon and politician who has no experience whatsoever in housing. His inhumane housing policies have inflicted severe damage on poor families. Carson has attempted to eliminate fair housing regulations meant to combat racial discrimination, proposed raises in rent for tenants of affordable housing, removed protections for minorities, and decimated the budget of housing assistance programs systemwide.

On the other hand, Biden appointed Erika Poethig as team lead of his HUD transition team. Poethig has extensive experience working on affordable housing. She is vice president of the Urban Institute, a think-tank serving decision makers to affect social change in housing and equity. Her previous appointments include a top position in HUD under the Obama administration, associate director of housing for the MacArthur Foundation, and assistant commissioner for policy and program development at Chicago's Department of Housing.

Poethig has developed grant-making strategies for rental housing and designed campaigns to combat predatory lending, prevent foreclosures, and stabilize communities.

This shift is something to be thankful for.

Louis Celt

Northeast Portland

We need drug treatment, not legalized drugs

Oregon has a homeless problem. We can see it in the streets of downtown Portland. There are tents everywhere.

When I go to downtown Portland, it makes me sad to see how many people are homeless. Statistics show that there were more than 14,000 homeless people in 2018.

We see that some of these people have become homeless due to drug addiction. Drug addiction is wrong, and what does Oregon do? It does nothing. Instead of putting more resources into helping these homeless people, we legalize even more drugs.

In the recent election, Oregon Measure 109 was passed, which legalized psilocybin products. Although Measure 110, which was also passed, gives drug addiction and drug recovery services, it decriminalizes illegal drug possession. Illegal drugs should be given a more significant penalty because they cause addiction, allowing more people to access unlawful drugs.

There are so many drugs in Oregon that you even see minors doing drugs. Teens doing drugs is wrong because this could cause teens with addiction to start living in the streets.

We need to divert resources to stop drugs from ever even reaching teens' hands.

Eddy Calel

Northeast Portland

Political correctness doesn't change history

While I commend the Tribune's even hand in granting their readers opposing views on the subject, the article "Mural Mural Off The Wall" (Dec. 2), nonetheless makes me sad.

I'm tired of being angry at the nearly universal and shockingly precipitous adoption of woke political correctness; it's even funny sometimes.

But mostly I'm sad. Sad that, in a city with an arts tax and innumerable gorgeous (and provocative) murals a major local paper strikes a laudatory tone when covering the censorship of a mural at a local high school.

The claim of "historical incorrectness" in terms of the mural's Native American subject matter is a cop-out, and while it's a half-truth to only depict colonists and indigenous peoples coexisting in harmony, it's also just as false to claim that they never got along.

The front-page headline floats to the right of two smiling teens. This juxtaposition of iconoclasm and glee is disheartening at best, and frightening at worst.

Acknowledging our checkered history is important, but a constant reminder of victimization does nothing to strengthen our future.

Ross Sempek

Southeast Portland

Rubinstein's great life was more than just genes

I am responding to the Dec. 2 letter written by Andrew Ruff regarding Eleanore Rubinstein.

I lived next door to this remarkable woman for 28 years, and spent many, many hours visiting, dining, golfing (until she was 105), and sharing a cocktail or two.

To say this article was a disservice to the readers is preposterous.

She always believed it was a combination of luck, lifestyle — and of course genes played a part. But the article was about Eleanore — and her life — not her genes.

To caution readers not to assume, "gleefully" they can do the same and live to 107 or more is ridiculous and an insult to the readers. It was a beautiful tribute to an amazing, wonderful woman.

Pat Bukieda

Southwest Portland

Different perspective on 'King of the Trees'

I was saddened by the Metro Life headline story about the Royal House in Portland's West Hills.

This award-winning house was built in an undisturbed wooded area. Very wealthy people who are concerned about escaping COVID-19 left the big city and purchased this house for $2.55 million so they could enjoy the natural setting.

Unfortunately, we all continue to ignore the fact that such undisturbed areas are becoming less available for birds and other wildlife. Since 1970, 3 billion birds have disappeared in the United States, and habitat loss is one of the main reasons.

When people move into the woods, they are coming and going and bringing their noise and lights and other disturbances with them, making those areas extremely unlikely to ever be used again by nesting native birds. From 50% to 75% of earth's ice free land has been converted to human use, and can no longer be considered wild. With continued population growth and development, it isn't coming back.

What makes this story even more disturbing is that the same architects are building nine more houses on nearby lots. Clearly, the award-winning architects have not considered the extreme damage they plan for these natural areas, but have likely considered the extreme profits that await them with this destruction. They fool themselves with their language that they are building "something that really integrates into the forest without displacing much of the forest area."

Clearly, in our culture money talks, but nature has no voice. If the wildlife that requires undisturbed areas to survive had a voice, they would post "Keep Out."

I hope the Tribune's next story on King of the Trees will be about the owls and hawks that rely on those trees for their survival.

Candice Guth

Southeast Portland

Trump's election fraud claims fail us all

President Trump continues to claim election fraud, but the courts repeatedly reject his lawsuits because his lawyers are unable to present any evidence of fraud.

Trump is tragically immature and cannot accept rejection by the voters. Yet, he remains president and has a duty to protect the integrity of our presidential voting system.

He needs a stern warning: Mr. President, put up or shut up.

Richard Botteri

Raleigh Hills

Do we owe American workers stimulus checks?

The election is complete. Yet the direly needed Heroes Act and Cares Act earmarked for 10 million American workers languishes in the Senate.

Soon Americans will be evicted from their apartments and foreclosed on their mortgages if they don't receive the appropriated money from these acts. The approved package of financial relief is earmarked for Veterans, American workers, landlords, parents, schools, restaurants and small businesses across our country. but it hasn't been approved for distribution in the Senate.

Public housing contractors deserve to be paid, because work has been completed, yet they haven't received their checks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mandated Eviction Moratorium runs out in January, forcing landlords to evict their tenants who are six months or more late with their rent. Cities could be flooded with tent cities and many more homeless.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden will be joined by new Congressman Cliff Bentz (who just won an election in the 3rd Congressional district). Contact these people in your district and tell them to get the Heroes Act and the Cares Act approved.

Tom Corbett

North Portland

Tootie needs to be a responsible leader

Tootie Smith, the incoming chairwoman of the Clackamas Board of County Commissioners, said that she would celebrate Thanksgiving "with as many family and friends" as she can find. This is deeply irresponsible for an elected official.

Nobody wanted a freeze, nobody wanted to alter or cancel Thanksgiving plans but, in the face of unrelenting disease spread, you do what you can to stop the record setting pace of infections and hospitalizations. We get to normal holidays surrounded by as many people as we can find by beating this disease. We beat this disease with a safe and effective vaccine to all Americans as quickly as possible.

Rather than searching for as many family and friends to pack into a Thanksgiving dinner, responsible public leaders should work overtime with vaccine companies and federal leaders to make sure that they can deploy the vaccine once it is ready. In the meantime, we control the disease by utilizing proven mitigation measures like masks, and social distancing.

It is called sacrifice and while it may be painful to have scrapped holiday plans, we do not want to create a situation where COVID-19 causes permanent empty chairs and the next holiday.

Ryan Miller

Oregon City

Maybe Tootie will care for you when you get sick

If Tootie Smith, chair-elect of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, is inviting as many people as she can find to her home for Thanksgiving, then she should invite a notary public and have everyone present sign an affidavit to swear they will not use any medical services for the rest of 2020.

That way, doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, CNAs and other medical staff who interact with the public and care for COVID-19 patients won't be exposed to people who choose to increase their own likelihood of spreading and contracting coronavirus.

Ask Tootie to take care of you if you get sick.

The CDC just said that people who don't feel ill account for more than 50% of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. If you, too, choose to participate in a super-spreader Thanksgiving, spread out your thanks to our first responders by committing to forgo all medical services until 2021. You may infect your family, friends, and co-workers, but stay away from our frontline medical heroes.

Leslie Rubinstein

Cottage Grove

Tootie's challenge looks like child's tantrum

As if there had not been enough bad press? for Portland this year. Tootie Smith, Clackamas County chair-elect, flamboyantly challenging common sense pandemic guidance on Fox-TV for a national audience is more than an embarrassment.

Brashly, boldly opposing our state's governor virus guidance might be expected from a woman who auctioned a Glock as a fundraiser for one of her campaigns for county commissioner.

OK, there's a crazy uncle in every family. I get it. But I do resent an elected official in a neighboring county causing havoc? that may impact my home and well-being.

Tootie Smith, Clackamas County official, did nothing to urge the paintball and bear mace-equipped, flag-flying trucks to stay home and keep from taking their in-your-face caravan to downtown Portland. For her to trash Portland now is rich when twice this year we've been subjected to roaring Clackamas County truck convoys in our city's downtown.

As far as I know, not a single Portland resident protested with rowdy zeal when Clackamas County refused to pay its share of the Sellwood Bridge rebuilding, even though the bridge is a vital transportation link for northwest Clackamas County.

?Tootie Smith exhibits the kind of irresponsible behavior that is common as juvenile rebellion to authority. To see an elected official modeling antagonistic and self-centered resistance to public health advice in a pandemic is ?beyond the pale.

Simple measures to curb the spread and solidarity in the face of a infectious virus is in the common good. Obviously that's not to be expected from Tootie Smith. She is basically encouraging super-spreader events in her region.

Just ? how many ICU beds are there in Clackamas County? to accept the COVID-19 patients generated by a coming virus spike? ?Does she assume Portland can take them in?

Inga Fisher Williams

Northeast Portland

Thanks for the COVID-19 cases, Tootie

I think we owe a debt of gratitude to the selfless patriots pushing back against COVID-19 restrictions, like Clackamas County's Tootie Smith.

As we all know, it's impossible to test a vaccine for COVID for effectiveness if there is no COVID cases around in the first place.

In fact, news coverage of vaccine trials have noted that some companies have struggled to find populations (in Germany, for example) where their vaccines can be tested. News coverage of U.S. trials have noted that the trials have been accelerated because placebo-receiving participants got the virus from their supportive communities.

And so, Madame Chair-elect, I thank you and your fellow family members and friends, who are self-sacrificing, willing to suffer heartbreak by Christmas, all just for the price of a turkey dinner.

And to think that you probably won't be taking the vaccine, either. You exemplify altruism in its most refined form.

Mike Richmond

Southwest Portland

COVID fight needs a free market

For blue collar workers like me — often deemed essential — the COVID-19 pandemic has implicated our work and personal lives with immense danger. Americans are rearing to get back to work, and this virus is truly testing our patience. I want things to return to normal just as much as the next person, but I know that isn't necessarily possible without the development and distribution of a vaccine for the virus.

I am certain that the solution to this issue will come by way of a vaccine, which is why our lawmakers must do all that they can to ensure that the biopharmaceutical industry is supported in their endeavors to make that become a reality.

However, the administration has recently implemented a new health care policy, called the most favored nation policy, that infringes upon the free market that often results in the industry's successes — largely speaking, the American biopharmaceutical industry produces more breakthrough cures than any other country in the world.

But the most favored nation policy stands to change that by circumventing the resources that biopharmaceutical researchers and scientists need to continue conducting their work.

The only way for us to get back to work is for Oregon's lawmakers to work on our behalf to bolster the biopharmaceutical industry in its efforts to develop a vaccine or cure for COVID-19.

We need to preserve our free market, not hinder it.

Jesus Garzon

Clackamas

Lots of people survived holidays without family

The lack of patriotism shown by Tootie Smith, chair-elect of Clackamas County commissioners, is appalling.

Smith's unwillingness to make the smallest sacrifice to lessen the burden on hospitals, doctors, nurses, and floor staff is selfish. Her lack of concern for the lives of the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions is heart-breaking.

Smith states she won't limit her Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations, that she will "celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with as many family and friends as she can find." She appears to cherish the life of a super-spreader.

Smith's words mock the sacrifices generations of veterans have made. Assigned to a destroyer deployed to the Atlantic and North Sea, I missed many Thanksgivings and Christmases with family, all of whom were in the Northwest. And I had it easy — with a warm bunk and hot meals — compared to my fellow vets with year-long tours in killing zones of Vietnam; without any family or old friends.

And our sacrifices paled compared to the greatest generation. My father boarded a troop ship departing San Francisco in December 1941 for the Philippines, but rerouted to Australia. Then to the jungles of New Guinea. After 3½ years continuously overseas (and malaria), he returned stateside in April 1945.

Yes, he, too, survived Thanksgiving with no family.

I fear for our country if Tootie Smith's attitude of others-be-damned and no-sacrifices-for-me (no matter how small) infects others because of her position of power.

Charles Jones

La Grande


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