Readers' Letters
by: Christopher Onstott, Mason Brock (left) and Gregg Hayward, dressed as “bag monsters” to show the ugly side of plastic bag pollution, took part in the “Ban the Bag” rally in July at City Hall.

A bag ban is not a matter of a nanny state protecting you from yourself. This is a situation where the government is protecting your neighbors and future generations from you and your inability to make decisions based on anything but your own convenience (Sides squaring off in bag battle, July 22).

Trust me, grocers would be more than happy if they didn't have to buy all those plastic (and paper) bags to give away to you every time you show up to buy chewing gum. They'd also be happy if they didn't have to pave a parking lot for you to park your car.

You all act like allowing the free-market to control everything would create this blissful world where grocers handed out free plastic bags, provided free parking and all of your poor decisions wouldn't screw up the environment for your children and grandchildren.

In a free-market society, you'd bring your own bags or you'd pay for them; you'd walk to the grocery store or you'd pay to park there - by the hour (not to mention paying a toll on the roads you use to get there); and any private company that hauled away your trash would charge you extra to dispose of trash that screws up their sorting machines.

Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

Joseph Edge

Southwest Portland

Paper, plastic both have drawbacks

They're already charging a nickel-a-bottle deposit for the water (Sides squaring off in bag battle, July 22). I find that paper and plastic both have their benefits and drawbacks.

I also keep about three or four reusable bags in the back of my minivan. I do this because I want to - not because some political hack tells me that I have to because 'he' feels it's better for the community.

Portland is going down the tubes so fast you can almost see the vortex in the air.

Don Hogan


Discounts are a better incentive

Some stores speak of encouraging the use of cloth bags by charging for a paper bag (Sides squaring off in bag battle, July 22). Winco gives a 6-cent discount for each bag a person brings for their grocery take out. I think that this discount is much more acceptable than being charged for a bag.

Lauralee Ware

Southeast Portland

Eliminate plastic, not just bags

Again, the city of Portland wants to make choices for you. God forbid that you are able to choose what you want (Sides squaring off in bag battle, July 22).

I say that if we are going to get rid of plastic bags, we need to rid ourselves of all plastic containers found in stores. Leaving some plastic containers like milk cartons in the stores would not be fair.

One may also question on fairness why this will have to be implemented by large stores at first, then trickle down to smaller stores as time goes on. Hey, I have a great idea: Why don't we let the public decide if they want a plastic or paper bag?

Alan Brawner


Bag issue not cut and dry

To me, it's not a cut-and-dry answer (Sides squaring off in bag battle, July 22).

Yes, the use of plastic should be limited if there are other alternatives, but there are also some uses for it and, if recycled responsibly, it shouldn't be a problem. That is where the flaw is: People are not recycling responsibly.

Stores have bins for the bags - what is so hard about returning them there if the bags are no longer wanted? It's too bad that curbside recycling can't set up something to keep them separate from the regular items left out so they won't gum up the machinery where (recycled) items are taken.

And will stores continue to have the thin plastic bags in the produce/meat departments where foods leak and need to be bagged? Who wants meat/chicken juice inside cloth bags? There are still things to be worked out in this debate; I use cloth, but keep plastic for other uses and even rinse them out.

Alyson Huntting


P.E. is a pillar of child's education

Scientific, peer-reviewed research has clearly shown that physical activity is linked to improved academic performance, testing and in-class behavior (P.E. could be big loser in school budget race, July 15). The CDC states that 23 years of research and 50-plus studies confirm the link between physical activity and positive academic performance. I spare you the facts.

Suffice it to say, it is our responsibility as a community (and as a school district) to impart upon our youngest members lifelong (physically and mentally) healthy habits. As a colleague wrote, 'Health is academic.'

Like Ms. Hennrich writes, PE is not an enrichment class; it is a pillar of our children's education. It must not be pushed to the fringe of our educational equity discussion, budget issues notwithstanding.

Gregory C. MacCrone

North Portland

Literacy trumps physical education

Hard times require hard decisions. Our schools must produce graduates who can read, write and do math. Everything else is secondary (P.E. could be big loser in school budget race, July 15).

Without a sound basic education, our children are doomed to fail. P.E. may be nice to have, but literacy is more important in the real world. Parents must understand they have the primary responsibility to raise their children. That responsibility can't be passed off to the schools.

Samuel R. Ganczaruk

Northeast Portland

All children need electives

The P.E. teacher, the music teacher, the art teacher, all get the short end of the money stick (P.E. could be big loser in school budget race, July 15). Why? Maybe it's because decision makers are human and have a negative attitude toward subjects they had problems with.

Dear Voters, don't penalize kids because you lack coordination and gave up on P.E., are tone deaf or color blind. Give them the same chance you squandered and let them make something out of it.

If programs do get cut, will concerned parents start working out with their kids, taking them to concerts and museums? Start now.

David Gillaspie


Milk article missed animal cruelty

When comparing cow's milk vs. soy milk (Green Dilemmas: Cow's milk vs. soy milk, July 8), you raise important issues, but you ignore the main reason why vegans and many others choose soy: to not sustain animal cruelty.

You utter not a word about the cruelty of factory dairy farms, slaughtering of many dairy cows at one-fourth their natural life span, or parts of the dairy industry sustaining the veal industry and its practices.

While pretending animals are machines built for and disposed of at our convenience is conventional, it's disappointing to see that attitude displayed next to the words Portland, Green and Sustainable.

Your article also disserves progressive voices in the dairy industry.

John D. Vandenberg

Northeast Portland

Other options for 'official' beverage

Your recent article 'Green Dilemmas: Cow's milk vs. soy milk' (July 8) left out a few salient points that consumers should consider before deciding what to buy.

Commercial dairies have a big problem with cows contracting mastitis which can result in puss and blood ending up in your glass of milk. According to the Harvard School of Public Health that is cited in this article, milk is not the only or best source of calcium. And to directly quote that source: '… dairy products can be high in saturated fat as well as retinol (vitamin A), which at high levels can paradoxically weaken bones.'

And if animal welfare concerns you at all, dairy cows, due to repeated impregnation, intensive milking and disease, live very shortened lives. The cows are slaughtered around four or five years of age and often sold as hamburger meat to fast food restaurants.

Finally, soy milk is not the only choice over milk. There is almond, rice, oat and hemp milk to name a few. So if you are concerned about your health, the planet's health and perhaps even the cow's health, you may want to consider another option for Oregon's official beverage.

Courtney Scott

Northeast Portland

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