I was dismayed to see incoming Clackamas County Chair Tootie Smith compare Oregon's health and safety agencies to the Nazi gestapo during a speech at a New Year's Day rally in Salem.
Smith is wrong and uninformed — and about to take office representing Clackamas County's many Jewish residents. And words and deeds matter, especially those of people entrusted with public office.
It would be easy to denounce Smith, especially in light of her willful disregard of our state's lawful measures to combat the pandemic. But instead of denunciation, I advocate for togetherness and education. I invite Smith to visit the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education and to learn from local faith leaders.
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.
Let's put the pandemic in perspective
While this pandemic has no doubt been a challenging and tragic time in our history, we have often had tunnel vision when it has come to where we put our consideration and resources.
It is not as if our other problems went away while we turned our attention to fight COVID-19 and we must remember this. While much focus has rightly been redirected to containing this devastating virus, this is not our only battle.
Globally the deaths of mothers and children under 5 years old have been reduced by almost half in the past 25 years. However, 800 women a day still die of preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Additionally, another 17,000 children under 5 years old also die each and every day due to entirely treatable conditions.
The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2019 would address these issues and work to develop a comprehensive strategy to prevent these unnecessary deaths. This is the third time that this bill has been proposed and, though there has been strong bipartisan support in each congressional cycle in which it has been proposed, it has failed to become law. With only a few weeks left in the calendar year we need Congress to act now.
It is high time that we recall that we have other battles to fight and preventing completely avoidable deaths should absolutely top the list. Now that a vaccine has begun to roll out maybe we will start to remember this.
Our world is choking on plastic waste
A single visit to the Oregon Coast will leave no questions in your mind as to why it is one of the state's Seven Wonders. The majestic rock formations, the unique micro-climate of the temperate rainforest in the Coast Range Mountains, and the iconic tufted puffins at Haystack Rock are just a small sampling of what our coast has to offer.
As I look out at the ocean, it's devastating to remember that somewhere far beyond where the eye can see, there is a mass of plastic pollution that is twice the size of Texas. Birds, whales and fish are washing up on beaches with bellies filled with bits and pieces of plastic. Here in the U.S., business continues as usual. Worldwide every year 8 million tons of plastic enters the oceans.
The chain of custody of these plastics may often end with the consumer, but we must hold producers and retailers accountable for the production of single-use plastics. The consumer cannot be burdened with all the responsibility to recycle and keep our planet clean. Producers and retailers must share in that responsibility by transitioning to more sustainable packaging options and phasing out single-use plastic items like cutlery and straws.
As a society, we must curb circulation of single-use plastics. It's reassuring to hear about new and innovative technologies to help clean up our oceans like plastic-eating fungi and bacteria or Mr. Trash Wheel, but we must also be proactive in our solutions. By only employing reactionary solutions as we continue to allow millions of tons of plastic pollution to enter our waterways, it's like we're bailing water on a sinking ship without plugging the holes.
I urge Oregon and the U.S. to do our part to reduce plastic pollution and protect our oceans.
Mr. President, our elections matter
Dear Mr. President: Our election is how our democracy works.
Our democracy has ruined your bid to continue your autocracy. Your response to our election speaks volumes about your lack of character.
Everyone now knows that you care more about yourself than our citizens. May you never make autocracy great again.
Sincerely, the American voters.
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