Readers letters published the week of June 21, 2019
Paid leave is a money grab
This is in reference to the letter to the editor regarding House Bill 2005, which will create a "comprehensive paid family and medical leave program for all workers" (see Spotlight letters, "We all benefit from paid leave," June 14).
This is yet another money grab from the taxpayers of Oregon. Why should the government — "We the people" — pay an employee for not working? Why should the government force an employer to pay an employee for not doing his/her job?
Let this issue be worked out between the employer and the employee. If the employer wants to offer his or her employee money for not working, fine. If not, go find another job. Don't expect someone else to pay your bills.
And what difference does the amount of melanin in one's skin make? And what difference does it make what is one's chosen lifestyle?
Wouldn't (re)distributing "free" money to one based on the color of one's skin be blatant racism and discrimination? And if one recognizes that a chosen lifestyle is causing problems, then it's up to that person to make changes.
Wouldn't (re)distributing "free" money based on sex be blatant sexism and discrimination?
The passage of HB 2005 will not "make life better for each of us." It just burdens us with another oppressive tax to support yet another group with their hand out.
Ruth R. Nelson
Big city ideas need big city money
Except for the 10 years I spent on active duty with the U.S. Army, I have lived in the rural Oregon counties of Coos, Klamath, Umatilla and Columbia and have found most residents self-reliant and independent. Like keeping up on auto maintenance to ensure they maintain a dependable means of transportation, and shopping on the way home so as to not have to make a special trip to the store.
Things seem a little different in Columbia County, where some residents and elected officials speak of the freedoms of rural life yet cling with all their hearts and minds to things associated with the metro area, like public transportation and high-density housing. They built their schools in close proximity of the railroad tracks then whine about rail safety. They want jobs, yet they stop most industry from relocating to the county because of their environmental causes.
With the closure of Boise Cascade, Armstrong Ceiling Tile, and soon the downsizing of Stimson Lumber, the county is taking serious damage to its tax base, yet local officials keep finding ways to raise taxes, like the creation of a transit district, even though the local transit only has a ridership of 1% or less of the county's commuters.
Big city ideas take money, which mean big city taxes, of which Columbia County residents cannot afford. Recently they had public meetings about affordable housing, yet forming a transit district will drive rents even higher, and most people know they will never stop asking for more and more funds if it is approved.
The only way to stop the endless spending is to vote. Not voting is the same as a silent approval for elected officials. Stop the endless spending, vote no, enough is enough.
Problems with Johnson's politics
It's time to end the pay-to-play politics in Columbia County and hold our representatives accountable. For far too long Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, has been putting special interest groups above her own communities. Her most recent demonstration of this was when she aimed to cripple House Bill 2020. The bill would institute a cap-and-trade program in the state beginning in 2021, and gradually reduce emissions until 2050, but Johnson revealed a set of sweeping amendments to the cap-and-trade proposal: "The changes include significant new carve outs for fuel importers, natural gas companies and waste operations. They would also weaken emissions-reduction goals currently set out in the bill." The time before this, Johnson joined Republicans in voting against Senate Bill 608 and sided with the Equitable Housing PAC, one of her major donors with $20,000 in contributions and a special interest group of landlords that support no-cause evictions and unchecked rent increases.
Per a Feb. 12 Oregon Public Broadcasting article, "Under Senate Bill 608, landlords across the state could raise rent no more than 7 percent per year, plus the annual change in the consumer price index. The bill carves out an exemption for rental properties that are less than 15 years old. The measure would also prevent a landlord's ability to evict tenants without a reason after they have lived in the building for a year."
For the same reasons Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opposes coal puppet Joe Manchin, we should oppose paid-off Betsy! As she said of Manchin at a Friday press conference, "I have concerns, and that's why I say that our issues are not just left and right, but that they're top and down ... I have concerns over the senator's chairmanship just because I do not believe that we should be financed by the industries that we are supposed to be legislating and regulating and touching with our legislation."
We can do better. Recall Betsy Johnson.
So let's see if I've got this straight: Five members of the Scappoose School Board made a deal to pay $36,000 in total compensation to an outgoing employee whose job had already been filled by a new hire. But those same five school board members axed the part-time Grant Watts Elementary School's $25,000 librarian position?
Editor's note: Grant Watts and Otto Petersen elementary schools will share a librarian for the next school year, a proposal made by school administrators to cut costs.