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Local writers sound off on Portland's protests, mounted police, democracy's peril and shifting congressional district boundaries.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, you have it wrong, very wrong. For about 200 nights, Black Lives Matters "protested" and what followed was violence and destruction for about 100 nights. Over half of these destructive events happened just two blocks from my home.

The people setting the fires, throwing the explosive missiles and tearing down the statues and fences around the parks and the courthouse and Justice Center were right in the middle of the crowds. Some were also wielding high-powered green lasers. They were indistinguishable from any so called protestors.

In fact, one night the "peaceful" moms were sandwiched right up against the courthouse fence, shoulder to shoulder with those dressed in black throwing Molotov cocktails over the fence.

The violence was predictable, with every so-called protest. Black Lives Matter organization bears some responsibility for all this violence and destruction.

The Portland police did almost nothing, even the night when the protesters breached their offices and got inside and set a fire inside. (No one seem to care that the jail upstairs had prisoners that were in danger if the fire got away.)

The parks were completely destroyed. We could not walk through or around them, and till this day, still face fences and number of sidewalks that no sane person dare walk on. As far as many of us who live in the neighborhood are concerned, the federal marshals were the "calvary" coming to rescue the neighborhood. If they went overboard, so be it: they were severely outnumbered and provoked.

Richard Leonetti

Southwest Portland

Bring back Portland's mounted patrols

Now that I see that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Mingus Mapps coming to their senses and asking for more support for Portland police, how about considering bringing back horse mounted police?

Whenever mounted police were present at whatever was going on, there was never the chaos we see in the dueling protests now.

I can't imagine the cost of the horse upkeep was that of a great savings, especially now with all the complaints about police use of other methods to keep crowds in order. Robert Mohrman Northeast Portland

Democracy's demise is bad for us all

The party of Lincoln has had a terminal disease for many, many years. Now it is safe to say that the disease they have suffered from has finally killed the party.

Former President Donald Trump is the virus and there is no inoculation that will kill the virus other than Americans waking up and realizing that our democracy is about to tumble.

The Trump virus has affected too many congressmen and too many citizens. I don't have to name the congressmen that have been affected because you know them by name.

My advice is for you to prepare for the demise of our democracy and authoritarian rule taking over. You think that what occurred in Germany during WWII was bad? Get ready, it could get worse.

Thank God I am nearing the end. However, I feel ever so badly for my children and grandchildren.

Gary L. Hollen

West Portland

Lobbyist Salinas shouldn't get higher office

State Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) wants to run for the new district 6 congressional seat.

Does Oregon want an insider who owned a lobbying firm and worked as a lobbyist for Strategies 360? She doesn't even acknowledge this on her legislative website bio.

Strategies 360 clients include a medical device company, utilities and an oil and gas concern. She started in U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office and was a district staff person for former Congresswoman Darlene Hooley.

Oregonians also love people educated at Cal Berkeley.

Funny, I support many of these things except being a lobbyist, which I think disqualifies her from public office.

More revealing is how Salinas treated me, a constituent, after scheduling a May meeting. Concerned with social service agency performance, I had feedback about incompetence, laziness and policy not working for Oregonians in need. After scheduling, she canceled, then put me off, and finally had a staffer say she wouldn't meet with me "sorry too busy."

A constituent blown off. Expect she'd act this way as a congressperson, too.

Conrad Sieber

Southwest Portland

Not looking forward to changing congressmen

I'm soaking up my last few months living in Congressman Earl Blumenauer's district, where my values are represented every day in Washington, D.C.

Come 2022, I'll be living in Congressman Kurt Schrader's district, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it.

As a millennial, I'm deeply concerned about climate change and what our future will look like if we continue down the path of business as usual. Science paints a terrifying picture. That's why I support the Build Back Better Act, which includes long-overdue investments in clean energy, justice and jobs.

Elected leaders like Congressman Schrader have baulked at the $3.5 trillion price tag, but how much has inaction cost us? Catastrophic wildfires, devastating winter ice storms, inescapable heat domes, all come with a price — that's not paid in just dollars, but the lives and livelihoods of Oregonians.

How much will inaction continue to cost us, until we inevitably have to make these investments anyway? It's worth noting that the $3.5 trillion will be spent during the next decade — $350 billion on average each year.

For perspective, that's less than half our annual military budget.

The Build Back Better Act is not money wasted, it's investments in public health, in the education of future generations, in agriculture and our food systems, in family-wage jobs for the middle class, in our crumbling infrastructure, in Medicare, in leveling the playing field for all Americans. If these aren't worthy investments, I don't know what is.

It's past time for Congress to act. Congressman Schrader, you claim to care about climate action. The Build Back Better Act is your chance to prove it. I urge you to support this once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in America's future.

Thank you to Congressman Blumenauer, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley for your work and leadership on climate action.

Britney VanCitters

Southeast Portland

Don't cheat women out of equal pay

Women deserve equal and equitable pay, and the COVID-19 crisis has made this more important now than ever.

We cannot build back an economy that works for everyone without ensuring that all women can work with equality, safety and dignity, starting with pay equity.

The only way I was ever able to do office work with good hourly wages was to be an independent contractor. I had plenty of work, but due to a disability, did not have the stamina to work full time. Now I live on very low Social Security. Women's Social Security is low because our wages were low. They still are.

Recently, Congress took a step toward that goal with the introduction of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to close gaping loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act. The bill would give women the tools they need to successfully challenge pay discrimination and would provide incentives to employers to comply with the law.

Versions of this bill have been considered by Congress many times before, but now for the first time in decades, its passage in both the House and the Senate seems possible. With bipartisan sponsorship and the widespread support of the American people, victory is in sight.

As a member American Association of University Women, Portland branch, I urge everyone to call their representatives in Washington, D.C., to voice their support for a long-overdue law to ensure that all women are fairly and equitable compensated for their work.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

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