Readers letters: Clean energy bill is a bold step
Sen. Ron Wyden's proposed Clean Energy For America Act demonstrates true leadership to fight climate change while creating jobs and simplifying tax codes to promote clean energy.
The bill simplifies the complicated array of over 40 energy tax incentives, replacing them with incentives for emissions reductions in electricity generation, transportation, and buildings. The incentives are emissions-based, technology neutral, so all types and sources of energy work towards the same simple goal of reducing and eliminating carbon emissions. This not only de-clutters the energy tax policy, but it also ends subsidies for fossil fuels and spurs the development of clean energy (creating well-paid union jobs).
This streamlined plan makes good common sense and works within the framework of President Biden's American Jobs Plan.
Let's make it easier to benefit from doing the right thing, and chart the course for a clean energy future. This plan enables us to meet carbon reduction goals to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, and helps us to truly Build Back Better.
Thank you, Sen. Wyden and the many co-sponsors of the Clean Energy for America Act. Now is the time for Congress to pass this bold climate legislation. Future generations depend on it.
State's climate fight benefits all of us
As Oregon and the world face more extreme weather events, the Oregon legislature has just taken strong action to help protect our climate. The passage of HB 2021 will set Oregon on a path to 100% Clean Energy by 2040, which will accelerate our transition to clean energy at a time when these sources are the most economical options available to our utilities and communities.
Transitioning to solar, wind, storage and other clean energy technologies will eliminate one of our state's largest and growing sources of climate pollution: reliance on fossil gas plants. In addition, a zero-emission electricity sector will serve as the clean energy backbone to power our buildings, transportation, and industries. HB 2021 will help drive needed economic development in the renewable energy sector and create family-wage jobs for building, operating and maintaining clean energy, storage and transmission projects, especially in rural and coastal communities.
This law will align Oregon with California and Washington and enable Oregonians to better compete with other states and countries over leadership in developing new clean energy technologies and developing our economies and jobs.
I applaud and thank the Legislature for acting decisively on behalf of Oregonians in the face of the climate crisis.
Who really needs the South Park Blocks changes?
Answers to two basic questions give reasons to oppose the South Park Blocks Green Loop Plan.
Who needs the changes? Are people who live and work downtown clamoring to trade trees for asphalt? Are visitors complaining? Business owners? How about PSU students and staff?
The bureaucrats and lobbyists asking to cut trees and pave grass represent vocal but small groups with limited visions.
What Portland values does the plan represent?
Landmarks such as the South Park Blocks elms symbolize the greatness of Portland's civic vision. Portland's urban forest frames Tom McCall Waterfront Park, The Halprin Sequence, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Holladay Park, the Plaza Blocks, and the Park Blocks.
Portland is not alone revering trees taking decades to mature. Great parks from coast to coast, such as Golden Gate Park and Central Park, become more sacred as both trees and populations grow. And as climate change increases the value of shade and clean air. Their trees, and ours, form monuments to foresight. And certify claims to status as major cities.
Please, no more jokes about stump town. Portland leaders whom our history cherishes worked hard to leave us the South Park Blocks. Let's not use chain saws to destroy their legacy.
Lloyd D. Lindley II
Former member of the Portland Design Commission
and the Portland Urban Forestry Commission
'Track and scan' may not be safe for shoppers
Regarding your June 17 Business Tribune article on my local Fred Meyer supermarket's rollout of "track and scan" mass surveillance shopping in Portland as a test market, I wish you had given some voice to electronic privacy advocates.
Oregon lacks rigorous consumer protections such as California's Consumer Privacy Act, and there are all sorts of ways Fred Meyer's corporate parent could misuse customer data.
Going forward, I'll prefer to shop at Trader Joes. Its family owner — the Albrecht Family — survived Nazi Germany. This experience lead them to build privacy measures such as not requiring "club cards" into their business model.
Of course, Fred Meyer is one of your advertisers, but you don't need to uncritically regurgitate a press release.
Fix filibuster to protect voting rights
I have voted in every election since I reached voting age over 50 years ago.
The For the People Act, S. 1, has already passed the House, and needs to pass the Senate, but the Republican led filibuster will stop the bill from passing. Almost 80% of all voters of both parties and independents want that bill to pass into law.
Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, a bill sponsor, spoke on MSNBC and seems to have several ways to fix the filibuster. But I do not understand what those steps are.
If the For the People Act does not pass the Senate because of obstructionist Republicans, millions of voters will be disenfranchised: The egregious voter suppression laws that are being passed by Republican-led state legislatures will absolutely be challenged in court; but that will take years, and won't restore the votes or the voices of people immediately impacted and disenfranchised by those laws.
We can't, and won't, let Republican Mitch McConnell kill the For the People Act by abusing parliamentary loopholes.
And in an especially encouraging sign, 50 senators voted to proceed on debate — which represents the Senate majority (plus Vice President Kamala Harris) that we will need to send the For the People Act to President Biden's desk once the filibuster is fixed.
I beg Sens. Merkley and Ron Wyden to find a way to get around, or fix, the filibuster so that our government can do its job of debate and passing bills into law that protect voters in all 50 states.
Time to get tough for safer streets
In the face of record traffic fatalities, an announcement that Portland police will be directed to enforce speed limits over expired tag stops is welcome news for residential neighborhoods who have been plagued by dangerous speeders.
Does this mean more speed traps, motorcycle officers with radar, better responses from residents' complaints about street safety?
Citizens should remember that the dismal failure of Vision Zero is that there is no law enforcement component to this make-work program, meaning the Portland Bureau of Transportation silo doesn't talk to the Portland Police Bureau silo.
If our "We Don't Act, We React" City Council wants safer streets, they should fully staff the police bureau and start writing $1,000 citations for moving traffic violations.
Get tough, Portland.
Put vaccine energy into curing MS
It is amazing to see how fast COVID-19 vaccines were developed and distributed. But as a loving husband to an amazing woman who has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I can't help but feel a pang of wistfulness.
There is no cure for MS and, because of the medication my wife is on for her diseases, she cannot receive the vaccine. Our lockdown will continue. While there are medications that help with symptom management, I hope there is a chance for a permanent cure out there.
I hope our congressional leaders will continue to support biopharmaceutical companies on behalf of my family and the 1 million Americans living with MS.
But then I get concerned when I read about legislation being discussed that, through price setting mechanisms, may hamper future medical innovation and may lead to fewer cures being developed.
For people living with MS, this is troubling. MS is a life-changing diagnosis for the patient and their family and you cannot imagine the hardship in watching the disease progress in the central nervous system of a loved one. A cure cannot get here fast enough and Congress should avoid erecting any roadblocks that may impede medical innovation.
The vaccine shows the potential of medical innovation. Let's apply similar energy to the fight against MS.
Portland police are not above the law
As an almost lifetime resident of Portland, I have a gripe. Who the hell do these officers' of the Portland police that have resigned their assignments within the police bureau think they are?
They are servants of the Portland community. They swore an oath to serve and protect. Part of that "service" is to provide protection of the rights of all of us, including themselves. They have decided that the 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments can be sidestepped just because they wear a badge.
Shame on everyone in the Portland Police Bureau who believe they are above the law. The incident involving the officer being investigated for abuse of a protester is an example of what many Portlanders who have seen the video have become a rallying point of what we do not want of these officers.
The PPB demands that the citizens of Portland adhere to the law. Should that not be the same for them?
Throughout the country we witness nightly the abuses that being Black is a cause.
However, here in Portland, if you're not a cop, you are fair game for just that same abuse.
Portland has become an armed camp. Cops have become the Portland army with a martial law mentality.
PPB! You serve the people, we do not serve you. If you forget the rights of the people, you are in the wrong profession.
Thugs with a badge are still thugs. We need a new prospective of what PPB needs to be.
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