Bikers not above the law

by: Christopher Onstott, Moving by bike instead of car may help some people breathe easier, but one reader considers the movers’ habit of corking traffic a bit cavalier.

The move-by-bike volunteers feel that to do this job, they have to block traffic and cause other people inconvenience (Bike movers find ways to haul it all, Aug. 1). Is that right? What an arrogant attitude. These people need a clue.

Steven C. Ball

Northeast Portland

Better to plan for growth than ignore it

In his Aug. 8 My View opinion piece 'Growth will cut us down,' Bruce Warner asks why we even need to consider how we're going to accommodate a million more people here in the next 25 years.

Why? Because we have to deal with reality: People are born, and people have the freedom to move here - just as Mr. Warner was born, or just as either he or his ancestors moved here. We all rest beneath the shade of trees our forebears planted and drink from wells that other people drilled. So we ought to plant trees and drill wells for others as well.

Pretending that growth is not going to happen and doing nothing to plan for it - or worse, taking radical actions to halt it - is the surest path to damaging our quality of life.

We have a choice: Hide our heads in the sand and pretend growth will go away, or plan so it benefits our community.

Moving forward, the Metro Council is reacting to the unfortunate reality implicit in Warner's article: that in the second half of the 20th century, state and local taxpayers and federal subsidies (particularly for new roads, water and sewer systems) tended to underwrite sprawling growth at the edge of town, often at the expense of established communities.

Meantime, existing infrastructure suffers from lack of maintenance.

But it needn't be that way any longer. Those days of lavish federal dollars and hidden transfers are waning, and our major task now is to make sure public dollars are being spent in ways that enhance the kind of community our citizens want.

It will be more realistic and a lot more productive to guide growth on our terms than to pretend that somehow growth is not going to happen.

David Bragdon

President, Metro Council

Food-label bill won't step on states' toes

Unfortunately, your July 25 article, 'Proposed labeling law threatens state rules,' recycles erroneous information about the National Uniformity for Food Act (S. 3128).

Contrary to the arguments put forth by opponents, this bill is narrowly drafted to provide for nationally uniform food safety tolerances and warning labels for packaged foods.

During the recent U.S. Senate hearing mentioned in the article, Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C.; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., clearly explained that states will retain full authority for sanitation inspections, enforcement, licensing and protection of public health in the event of emergencies.

Furthermore, this bill will not impact a state's ability to issue food safety warnings or make laws prohibiting economic adulteration.

Additionally, it is important to note that the FDA has banned the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk because of safety concerns. However, only state governments have the authority to ban intrastate sales, and will retain that power.

What this bill would do is put our nation's food safety standards in the hands of experts at the FDA.

As the world's leading food safety agency, it is best positioned to ensure our nation's food safety policies are based on scientific evidence, not on misinformation campaigns, fads or Internet rumors.

Consumers from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine, deserve consistent food safety information to ensure they can make informed food choices. I urge our senators to quickly vote yes for this legislation.

Joe Gilliam

President, Oregon Grocers Association


Jail food doesn't have to be punishing

I read with interest the article 'As time goes by,' which mentioned that jail food isn't gourmet (July 28). That may be true, but at one time it was.

Years ago I was the director of the Multnomah County Civil Service System, and we hired a chef to be the head of food services at the minimum security facility at Troutdale.

I don't recall his name, but he had been a chef in fine restaurants and hotels across Europe and the United States. I remember, of course, asking him why he would be interested in cooking in a jail with his résumé.

He told me he was tired of the politics of fine restaurants and simply wanted to cook fine food. He didn't care about the venue.

At the jail he had an endless supply of fresh meats and produce from the county farm, and all the free kitchen help he would ever need.

I'm sure the crime rate went up during his time there just so folks could spend time there. He once told me he went 28 days at a time without repeating a menu item. His specialty was pastry. I used to think up reasons to have to visit the facility whenever possible, always, of course, at lunchtime.

In addition, at the old courthouse jail there often was incarcerated an inmate known only to me as 'Blackie' who made the best sweet potato pie on the planet. He would get picked up frequently on some minor infraction, and whenever he was in custody, jail Sgt. Matt Dishman would call me and let me know that Blackie was in the kitchen.

I knew then it was time for a coffee break, and I would head up to the jail. The coffee left a lot to be desired but the sweet potato pie was worth the trip.

So, while we don't want the word to get out that inmates eat better than we do sometimes, the fact is that jail food can sometimes not only be good but can be gourmet.

Ron Talney

Lake Oswego