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Nick Kristof getting booted from the gubernatorial race and college loans are on our readers' minds this week.

Governor candidate backs finance reform

Like many other Oregonians, I've been frustrated with the problems that our state faces as well as the lack of effective plans to address them. I see the dysfunction and inability of local elected officials to make meaningful headway on issues I care about because of the political machine that drives them. That machine runs on cash and is driven by the same insiders and operatives — on both sides of the aisle — that have been calling the shots for decades.

When I saw that Patrick Starnes's main plank was campaign finance reform, I was intrigued. Starnes understands that a candidate beholden to special interests cannot put their constituents first.

Getting the money out of campaigns is critical to a functioning democracy that serves the people and not just the folks who feed at the trough. Most people agree. In 2020 we amended the state constitution to authorize the Legislature to enact laws limiting campaign contributions and expenditures. Measure 107 was passed with an overwhelming majority of 78%. Sadly, the motivation to change the status quo is trumped by dollar signs and our Legislature has done nothing.

Patrick Starnes has pledged to take no corporate or PAC money and no more than $1,000 from any one person. That puts him at a big disadvantage in this race. While political insiders and those with wealthy backers are amassing huge war chests and planning a slick, costly media blitz, Patrick's is a people-powered campaign rather than corporate funded. Vote Starnes!

M. Stein, Milwaukie

License plate scofflaws make everyone else pay

I recently read where the DMV is raising fees for vehicle registration. I drive about 100 miles a day in the Portland area. I see an increasing number of out-of-state and vehicles with expired plates or no plates at all on the roads. Especially at apartments. I could tell numerous examples.

Who is responsibly for getting these people licensed to drive on Oregon highways? DMV, police? I appears that those of us who obey the law are going to pay more for those who don't.

Happy new year.

David Tetz, Lake Oswego

College loan forgiveness is bad solution all around

Education is the backbone of any society. Higher education or college is the key to success for countless individuals. But at the same time should anyone be in debt for the rest of their life after graduation day?

While the cost of a college education has skyrocketed, especially over the past 30 years, this constant cry for loan forgiveness is idealistic and irresponsible. Yes, college is expensive, but the idea that people want their debts excused after they graduate is ludicrous. When you sign on the dotted line to buy a house, car or college education you know it's not free and you know you're expected to pay it back. What kind of a message are we sending when we essentially blow off someone's debt?

Irresponsible financial management for starters: You borrow money, you pay it back, that's how it works in the real world. Borrow money, sign a contract, pay it back. Stomping your feet and saying it's not fair is childish. Yes, I'd love to have someone excuse the remainder of my home loan so I could retire tomorrow, but I have no fairy godmother, so I know even though it would make mine and my wife's life dramatically better, it's not going to happen. Nor should college loans be excused after the fact. If you start, where does it end? It doesn't, it sets an unrealistic precedence forever, which is not remotely sensible or responsible for anyone.

Jim Maass, Beaverton

Starnes is right on array of policies

Patrick Starnes has advocated for and focused on many issues that are substantial and important to many progressive, independent and responsible voters of the State of Oregon.

Starnes has successfully advocated for the state Legislature to send a constitutional change to the ballot in 2020, which passed with over 78% support state wide. Starnes walks the walk and has committed to taking no contribution more than $1,000 in his campaign for governor.

Starnes has an innovative idea for the state's housing crisis by proposing a vacancy tax to be assessed on vacant or empty housing supply, which allows for homeless persons to be able to find shelter and not adversely affecting the State's general fund.

Starnes is for a universal health care system, a long-awaited necessity for all Oregonians. Schools and businesses will save on health care cost and a fraction of this savings would help to pay for pensions of all working Oregonians.

Starnes is committed to climate action by making public transportation free through the funds raised from the gas tax.

For all the above-mentioned important and vital reasons I recommend Starnes for the governor of our state.

Leila Ghodsi, Southeast Portland

Who no coverage of Washington CARES?

I am disappointed to not be seeing more coverage on the Washington State CARES act, which has taken effect Jan. 1, 2022.

While fine in concept, it is implemented horribly. All Washington employees are required to pay. This includes Oregon residents who commute to Washington. However, Oregon residents are not eligible to benefit from the act, only Washington residents.

My research shows that Oregon has close to 49,000 commuters to Washington. With an average income of $30,710 annual income. The per-hundred figure comes to $307.10. At a $0.58 tax rate, the average Oregon commuter will pay $178.12, annually. Multiply that by 49,000 and Washington state will be raking in a whopping $8,827,782 every year! I am surprised this is not considered to be important news.

Jim Crutcher, North Portland

Online editorial wrong about Kristof candidacy

In response to your "opinion" regarding Kristof and the Secretary of State ruling (that Kristof is ineligible to run for governor):

First, as many have noted in other publications, he does not qualify by several standards, for you to advocate privilege then is exactly another example of what has been going wrong in this country.

Second, and related to the sense of entitlement such as Kristof demonstrate, his record is not of the sort I want to see even running for office let alone in office.

This is one who sees nothing wrong with sweatshops, among other neo-liberal perspectives which have infected the Democratic Party but which Oregon Democrats have managed to largely avoid.

One wonders if your agenda is the destruction of the Democratic majority in Oregon.

G Garland, Dundee

Does Kristof pay taxes? If so, he should run

I think the simplest test for Nick Kristof's Oregon residency is: Did he pay Oregon taxes the last two to three years?

I had the opportunity to work abroad, some time ago. Doing so made me exempt from Oregon taxes, and so I did not pay for a few years.

Upon my return, I applied for an Oregon VA home loan. The only way I could receive approval was to pay taxes on my overseas earnings. I did so, to get the benefit of the home loan program. The amount was substantial.

If Nick Kristof wants to run for governor, then he needs to either have paid Oregon taxes, or catch them up now.

A primary duty of Oregon citizenship is paying taxes. Tax-paying is not rooted in racism, but in fairness and support of the state. Avoiding Oregon taxes brightly illuminates intent, and does not indicate support of the state, something desirable in one who would be Governor.

Nice, detailed article in the Portland Tribune today. Thank you.

Lester Garrison, Clackamas


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