Readers letters: Honor Earth Day by adopting energy legislation
This year Oregon observes an Earth Day like no other.
Since last Earth Day we have lived through the extended horrors of a pandemic, unprecedented wildfire destruction, and painful reverberations of social unrest. Yet today there are green shoots of opportunity: amazingly effective vaccines, broader dialogue about racial and social justice, and greater consensus about our climate emergency.
The Oregon legislature is considering three bills that would accelerate our state's response to climate change in way that would promote energy affordability, create new jobs, weatherize more homes, and move us to 100% clean energy, all with a focus on equity and justice.
Championing these bills is a grassroots coalition of organizations representing the indigenous, rural and low-income Oregonians and communities of color who have historically borne the brunt of climate change in the form of higher energy burdens and pollution.
These Oregon clean energy opportunity bills (energy affordability, healthy homes, and 100% clean energy for all) have strong sponsorship and bipartisan endorsements but will need backing from Oregonians from all walks of life to get across the finish line.
Honor Earth Day this year with action by calling your legislator and asking them to support this legislation.
We're not focusing on the right things
Where's the outrage?
Recently we heard about a young man being starved to death in Vancouver, Washington. When horrible things like this happen do we write the editors expressing our outrage. Do we call into TV or radio?
We have a lot of opinionated politicians. Tootie Smith, Mark Shull, Kurt Schrader, Ron Wyden, where are your voices? We have a lot of opinionated radio hosts, Lars Larson etc., where are your voices?
The sad truth is that we all have a lot of opinions and ego when it comes to politics and religion, but when something happens that really matters like this we are sadly silent.
Don't let state rush into tolling highways
The ODOT Portland-area freeway toll plan is being rushed.
I live in West Linn, which is in the center of phase one of tolling. ODOT's plan is to start putting tolls on all our freeways in Portland area. Interstate 205 is just the start.
ODOT doesn't know or won't share the projected toll amount or set up cost of this plan. High-tech cameras, tracking, billing and receiving payments will be expensive. Every interchange will need a system.
The toll proceeds do not have to be spent on freeways or stay in your community. The diversion traffic will be substantial. I know the roads and one old narrow bridge across Willamette River in my area can't safely handle much more traffic.
We wasted $175 million on planning for the Interstate Bridge across Columbia river. This could have been avoided by not rushing into it.
I call for an open forum on this whole project. Tolls could soon be from California to Washington, with zero control of what it buys.
Let's use medical research to help the world
It is great news that President Biden is accelerating the COVID-19 vaccine timeline. The development of and widespread distribution of vaccines is a testament to the power of medical innovation and shows what is possible when manufacturers and our government work towards a common purpose.
While I hope the vaccines help us get the virus under control here at home, we must also be aware of what is happening elsewhere.
I lived in Brazil as a high school study abroad student and was welcomed into a large and loving family as one of their own. I maintain close contact with my Brazilian family, and it is breaking my heart to watch that country's struggles with COVID. The death toll is staggering highly, and the vaccination rate is astonishingly low.
The challenges behind global vaccination are complex and massive and I hope that those countries without ready access to vaccinations are soon supplied with shots.
In the meantime, here at home, we must continue to support medical innovation that made vaccine development possible. It was years of existing mRNA research that enabled biopharmaceutical companies to develop multiple vaccines in such a short time.
Hopefully the lessons learned from this pandemic, including the returns on support for robust medical innovation, will inform future medical breakthroughs that will benefit the globe.
Congress should protect Medicare Advantage
We are looking to Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici to use her voice in Congress to advocate for Oregon's seniors by working to strengthen and protect Medicare Advantage, which is used by more than 415,000 Oregon residents, including more than 80,000 in the Congresswoman's district.
Both of us use a Medicare Advantage plan for our health care needs, and we couldn't be more pleased with the quality of care. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our plan ensured access to virtual telehealth appointments with doctors and specialists, all fully covered under our plan, giving us peace of mind throughout a stressful time for seniors.
Cost is another important consideration for us. Both of us being retired, we watch our expenses like most people. And while we live a comfortable lifestyle, we cannot afford to pay unexpected copays or expensive monthly premiums. Luckily, our Medicare Advantage plan keeps our costs low and consistent.
Congresswoman Bonamici should continue to support Medicare Advantage because of the way it protects seniors in her district, and across the state. We could not be more grateful for our plan and are looking forward to seeing it strengthen, not weaken.
Terry and Kathleen Tobin
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