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Solarize, yes, but use local firms

Readers' Letters
by: Tribune File Photo, Andrew Van Gorder of 3D Electrical Services installs a solar panel on the roof of a Mount Tabor residence participating in the Solarize Portland program last year. The success of the Southeast Portland program spawned a similar effort in Northeast Portland, though a letter writer believes the project should work with contractors rooted in the community.

Unfortunately, the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN) and Solarize Portland have chosen to give away Oregonians' tax dollars to the California-based SolarCity in the name of sustainability (Northeast neighborhood taps hot energy plan, Feb. 4).

Transitioning to a sustainable future requires supporting all facets of the movement, such as the environment, energy, transportation, food, social justice, labor and supporting the local economy. NECN participants have chosen to neglect the movement to save a quick buck. SolarCity is a California-based solar contractor (and has only been in Oregon since 2008) trying to force its way into an already established and competitive local solar market. Their corporate-structured, race-to-the-bottom, low-ball approach will only cripple our local economy even more.

I firmly believe, and I know many others do too, that these projects should be carried out by contractors who are well rooted in our local economy and community. Let's work together to build Portland's local sustainable economy with family-wage jobs.

Relk Forsloff

Southeast Portland

Digester won't end cattle carbon

Finally, a good article that makes it clear that cows are not a source of "green" energy and in fact are a major source of greenhouse gases (Utility turns cow poop into gas, Feb. 11). One thing the article does not make clear, though, is that manure digesters will only have a small effect on the amount of greenhouse gases generated by cattle.

To begin with, manure is responsible for less than 25 percent of the methane caused by cattle. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas - 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide - and most of the methane produce by cattle is produced by their normal digestion of grasses called "enteric fermentation." The cattle belch out this methane. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this enteric fermentation by cattle is the single largest source of methane in the United States.

The manure digesters can't help this type of methane pollution. On top of this, methane is only responsible for about a third of the greenhouse gasses that cattle generate. The other two-thirds come mainly from raising the food for cattle, fertilizer used for growing the food or fertilizing the pastures and the carbon lost from agricultural land and forests when lands are cleared for grazing or used to raise grains to feed the cattle.

Cattle take a huge amount of energy to produce meat - much larger than the tiny amount that will be recaptured by the manure digesters. From an environmental standpoint, we certainly don't want to do anything that will (require) more cattle to be raised and more greenhouse gases to be produced.

Peter Spendelow

Northwest Portland

No consensus on global warming

The claim that there is or ever was a "scientific consensus" on global warming is simply a fraud put around by alarmist politicians (Debate: Face-off over cap and trade, Feb. 11).

I have asked journalists, politicians and alarmist lobbyists now totaling in the thousands to name two prominent scientists - not funded by government or an alarmist lobby - who say that we are seeing a catastrophic degree of warming. None of them have yet been able to do so.

I extend this same invitation here.

There is not and never was a genuine scientific consensus on this, though scientists seeking government funds have been understandably reluctant to speak. The whole thing depends on a very small number of people and a massive government publicity machine - both very well funded by the innocent taxpayer.

The next "scientific consensus" that needs examination is the "no lower threshold" (LNT) theory that low doses of radiation are deadly. This has allowed hysteria to prevent cheap and plentiful electricity for the world for 40 years. Yet not only is there no evidence whatsoever for it, there is massive evidence for the opposite theory, known as hormesis, that it is beneficial.

Neil Craig

Glasgow, Scotland

Climate issue being used to take liberties

The debate you published between John Charles and Andrea Durbin proves something I have said for years: The mainstream media and most institutions are not to be trusted ever (Debate: Face-off over cap and trade, Feb. 11).

Why do I say this in relation to the debate you published about climate change and cap and trade? It is because there are at least two factual errors in the article. Why wouldn't a newspaper hold a contributor's feet to the fire to make sure that person is telling the truth? The errors are these: There is absolutely no consensus among scientists that there is human-caused climate change. In fact, over 31,000 American scientists signed a petition several years ago stating their doubt of global warming. Also, Andrea Durbin's claim that the public demands action on climate change is also false because polls have been showing climate change as dead last in the concerns of the American people.

It has become very obvious in the last couple of months that the climate change folks have overplayed their hand in sounding their alarms and crying wolf. Andrea Durbin claims we have no time left to reverse climate change. It seems apparent that we know nothing of the kind. Is Ms. Durbin's head in the sand? Has she ever heard of Climategate as well as other scandals associated with climate change "science?" Many climate scientists are saying that we are at the beginning of a new ice age.

"Climate change" is being used for two purposes: to take away civil liberties and to redistribute wealth. The people of the world are tired of their leaders using every excuse available to take away their rights and money. It is time for the people of the world to say no more.

Janis Mitchell

Welches

Kicker law is sinking Oregon

The infamous Oregon kicker seemed like a good idea at the time, but has it produced benefits? (Tax hikes adopted; kicker is up next, Jan. 28) Do Oregon taxpayers enjoy unbridled prosperity? Are outside businesses clamoring to open new factories in our state? Are our small businesses alive and well? Is all that discretionary kicker money generating new jobs in Oregon?

Doesn't look like it. In fact, the kicker appears to be a disaster.

Businesses that bring jobs to Oregon look for communities with great schools, solid roads and bridges, safe towns and highways, and a community spirit that doesn't let the less affluent roam the streets without medication, homes or food. This doesn't sound like Oregon.

The kicker puts Oregon head and shoulders below other states. Compounding the damage is our near total financial reliance on state income tax. Not only is Oregon the only state with a kicker, Oregon enjoys the dubious distinction of depending more on income tax than any other state depends upon any single tax. What does this mean? As the economy bounces, so does Oregon's funding.

This double whammy makes revenue undependable and savings impossible. If we attempt to improve any service during a good year, what's to prevent the project from being canceled during a bad one?

Let's save our economy. Let's create jobs. Let's attract new industries. Let's keep our kids in school, felons in prison, pavement on our roads, patrolmen in our communities and our less affluent off the streets.

Let's end the kicker.

Samuel Metz

Southwest Portland

You're not taking my kicker

Take my kicker from my cold dead hand (Tax hikes adopted; kicker is up next, Jan. 28).

Sally Choong

Boring

Kicker is next money grab

What a surprise. As soon as one tax hike is adopted, it becomes of immediate importance to start finding the next way to get more money from the taxpayers (Tax hikes adopted; kicker is up next, Jan. 28). Whether that passes or not, it will be on to the next money grab.

Curtis D. Bacon

Salem

Save taxpayer money, start reserve

Now only 45 states have business taxes lower than Oregon, so I don't think the sky is really falling (Tax hikes adopted; kicker is up next, Jan. 28).

As for the kicker, I'd say place reserve revenues from 2 percent to 5 percent over what was estimated in a reserve fund with strings attached, and then rebate the rest as a tax credit instead of a check. That saves millions of dollars to taxpayers and doesn't look like politicians are buying votes.

In lean times, businesses benefit when workers such as policemen, firemen, and teachers - and their spending power - are retained. More importantly, felons are not freed and schools are not subject to devastating cuts.

Robert W. Clore

Columbia City