Topics range from health insurance coverage to Puerto Rico to climate legislation.

System is rigged against average citizens

(Editor's note: The Portland Tribune, The Times' sister publication, printed a letter by Tom Shillock on Dec. 19.)

His Shillock's paragraph eloquently sums up how the deck of cards is stacked against the average hard-working American.

The book "The Rigged Game" describes how designed mechanisms for the past 30-plus years have ruined the pursuit of the American Dream that so many citizens strive to achieve.

Through highly efficient and systematic methods of transferring wealth, it's inevitable the middle class will become extinct in our lifetime, sending even more people into poverty.

Question is: When will the masses finally reach the point and say, "Enough is enough!" and vote in progressive candidates?

Dana Weintraub


Health care: This is deeply wrong

At 60 years of age, working two jobs with OK insurance, I come to find out I've had a crown fail and I'm going to lose a molar, a pretty major tooth by all standards. After years of proper dental care, apparently it happens.

My options are live with this new hole in my mouth that makes consuming food miserable or get a single tooth implant at a cost of $4,500 — which is more than I could hope to afford.

Over the years, the cost of implants actually has gone up as the manufacturing of these devices is controlled by three companies and the price is fixed, which bridges on collusion.

There is something wrong when you have worked your entire life but are told by your insurance company that this molar bridges on a cosmetic device and they refuse to even pay for part of this necessary implant. I never thought I'd get to the point in my life where I would have to accept losing a major tooth and be forced to just live with it. Something is wrong with this system.

James Maass


Puerto Rico conditions are still a disaster

A relative of mine recently returned from a humanitarian mission in Puerto Rico.

The conditions there are truly disturbing and not getting any better. There are still areas where electricity and water are unavailable and jobs discontinued as there are no utilities to conduct business. The anxiety and depression rates are off the charts and heading up as the people are frustrated in their attempts to improve conditions.

Many of the NGOs who headed over there three months ago have left even as the mental and emotional stress has continued to increase. It is a disastrous situation getting worse.

Congress should do what is needed to get aid to these people.

Allison Booth

Southwest Portland

Metro polls support climate action legislation

The recent My View commentary by John Charles Jr. of the Cascade Policy Institute (See "Opinions," was as illuminating as a tweet by our president. To consider global warming "a scam" and conclude that global warming legislation does not deserve a hearing is appalling to see in print. His article also is a perversion of the poll from which Mr. Charles drew his conclusions.

In fact, the poll showed an increase in importance of climate issues — up to 66 percent in 2017, from 60 percent in 2015. Further reading of the research puts the number up to 85 percent when adding the 19 percent who feel it is somewhat important, to the 66 percent who feel it is either very important or extremely important. The poll is available at:

The poll also revealed that 76 percent prioritize protecting natural areas, and 72 percent feel conserving farms and forestlands is a priority.

What is also clear from the poll is the prioritization of day-to-day challenges like homelessness, poverty and good jobs, over our long-range challenges like climate. Maslow's hierarchy of needs predicts such ranking.

The identified problems of congestion and insufficient housing are related to population growth, which will only increase as a result of climate refugees. We must all understand the vital importance of climate action legislation in addressing these interconnected challenges.

The Portland Tribune editors would do well to better vet opinion articles for the spreading of disinformation. The public needs truth now, more than ever. You won't find it at the Cascade Policy Institute.

Harriet Cooke

Southwest Portland

(Editor's note: The Tribune is a sister publication of The Times)

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