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This week's mailbag features letters about political polarization and support for small businesses.

Two-party system is too rigid for unaffiliated

In George Washington's farewell address, he warned of the dangers of political parties and their dangers of partisanship even when current political parties were being formed by founding fathers John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. But even with Washington's warning, America pursued establishing the majority two party system we have today.

As an Oregon non-affiliated voter, it is basically impossible to run for political office with the requirement to collect a minimum of 1% of verified voters per district in the specified time allowed. Non-affiliated voters cannot vote during an Oregon primary election because they are closed, leaving them to only vote during the general elections, which only have approved party candidates. Was this what our founding fathers fought the revolution for?

I was a registered Democrat during the 2008 election and remember vividly when the Democratic National Committee chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, announced that with the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the progressive liberal socialists had taken control of the Democratic Party. [Ed.: Wasserman Schultz chaired the Democratic National Committee from 2011 to 2016. The chair in 2008 was Howard Dean.] As a right-of-center moderate, I watched the party pursue a leftist agenda for the two years they had a majority (2009-11). Now, once again, they have achieved a majority, and in addition to the pandemic, they are pursuing a "woke" radical agenda. Will this bring our nation together? Will banning select social media vendors and rescinding the Second Amendment restore our unity?

Joe Turner, Columbia City

CARES funds needed to help struggling businesses

In early November 2020, a conservative political activist and logging company owner sued to block the Oregon Cares Fund, a relief program established to support Black Oregonians, Black-owned businesses and Black-led non-profits suffering disproportionate harm from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shortly thereafter other Oregon business owners joined the suit, requesting class-action status.

Many Oregonians and Oregon businesses have suffered during the pandemic. But Black Oregonians have been hit hardest and received less aid from existing COVID-19 relief efforts.

Black Oregonians are more than three times as likely as white Oregonians to contract COVID-19. Unequal access to relief for workers and businesses has compounded public health disparities.

Black business owners have had a harder time securing coronavirus relief and Black-owned businesses have been closing at higher rates than white-owned businesses during the pandemic.

The Oregon Cares Fund seeks to address these disparities through targeted aid to people and businesses who've been harmed the most and received the least help.

The plaintiffs in this case are not without recourse to relief funds. Oregon received over $1.3 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding.

Yes, Oregonians and Oregon small businesses need still more relief dollars to carry us through this unrelenting pandemic. Denying relief to a community clearly identified as most impacted and who is being left behind, does nothing to secure the additional resources that all Oregonians desperately need at this time.

It is time to work together for the common good to secure those additional resources.

Jim Houser

Co-Chair, Main Street Alliance of Oregon


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