Government in the way of job creation

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Sen. Ron Wyden speaks to the crowd that gathered for the May groundbreraking of the stimulus-funded TriMet Police south precinct. One letter writer says the federal stimulus money is doing no good.

Your Rethinking Portland article about spurring job creation overlooks one critical element: The uncertainty caused by the federal government (Oregon needs to act to spur job recovery, July 16). This is one of those many cases where government is the problem.

Creating an economic strategy is a fine idea, in a long-term sort of way. But creating jobs immediately does not need to be so complicated.

I own a store. I have plans to open another store or two. I put those plans on the shelf when the economy went sour. I'm eager to pursue them as soon as the economy looks a little more solid, but who knows when that will be? Frankly, the government has a remarkably poor record of predicting what the economy will do, or especially what its programs will do to the economy.

Being self-employed doesn't make me one of those evil, greedy rich people; I won't make $50,000 this year. I employ a few people (at considerably better than minimum wage). What will happen if a cap-and-trade bill sends the cost of energy sky high? All my costs will go up and I'll have to fire someone. I don't want to, but the alternative is that the business dies and everybody's unemployed.

What is the cost of health care going to do to my business? Recklessly demanding that health care is enacted in a frantic two week pow-wow is even more destabilizing. How about the unbelievably large cost of that "stimulus" bill, which has accomplished nothing? Somebody's gotta' pay for that, and soaking rich folks is only going to fund so much.

All this talk about 'sacrifice' that applies to everyone except Washington, D.C., sounds pretty ominous, too.

We've had all the "help" we can stand. If the feds would calm down and get out of the way, we small businesses could get back to what we do best: creating wealth.

Kate Watson


Jobs need to be productive

Not to pile on, but when you say, 'Never forget it's all about jobs,' you may want to 'rethink.'

Regarding the Rethinking Portland article 'Oregon needs to act to spur job recovery' (July 16), jobs are only valuable if they're productive - if they produce more wealth than they destroy. It's easy for government to create non-productive jobs; just think about the term 'make-work' jobs.

With Oregon's passion for 'green jobs,' one wonders when the central planners will figure out that they can create lots of jobs for low-skilled workers by, for example, putting cranks on windmills and hiring people to turn them when the wind doesn't blow. Lots of people working - but the rest of us will be worse off when we have to pay for such non-productive activity.

Steve Buckstein

Senior Policy Analyst and founder, Cascade Policy Institute

Southwest Portland

Climate Action Plan has valid goals

The Sustainable Life article, 'Views mixed on climate change strategy,' (July 9) struggled to find negative aspects of the Climate Action Plan: How much will the plan cost during the next 40 years? Will minimizing urban sprawl negate economic development? Will there be enough water lines necessary for a sudden onslaught of community gardens?

While it is important in our rough economy to ask questions regarding growth and development, the truth is the Climate Action Plan's goals are reasonable and not out of line with the lifestyle of the average Oregonian.

Focusing on locally produced food, improving bike lanes and minimizing urban sprawl are not unattainable goals, and from reading the article it would appear that the Portland Business Alliance is concerned with their own pocketbooks and not the concerns and well-being of Oregonians at large.

I'd like to thank U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer for voting for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and I'd like to urge Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden to work to pass the bill as it moves through the Senate and push America toward clean energy and stopping climate change.

Brita Thompson


Businesses should help energy labeling

It is curious that Bernie Bottomly of the Portland Business Association comes out so strongly against energy consumption ratings for buildings (Views mixed on climate change strategy, July 9).

One would think that a business association would support providing the market with more information for businesses and consumers. Isn't it better if someone who is purchasing a building or leasing a space knows what the energy usage is going to be? After all, who would question whether or not we should know the mileage of the vehicles we buy?

Oregon's recently passed Senate Bill 79 will start the state moving toward energy labeling of buildings. I hope that the Portland Business Association helps rather than obstructs the city, county and state efforts to get this energy information to consumers.

Jim Edelson

Northeast Portland

Tap water is not healthy water

While drinking tap water may be good for the wallet and the environment, it is not healthy water (Students 'take back the tap', Sustainable Life, July 9). Portland's water is part of a municipal water system that by law must contain chlorine and ammonia compounds. It doesn't matter how pure the water is to begin with. Our beloved, pristine Bull Run water is tainted by this process and is not healthy unless filtered.

Chlorine is a free radical, and while our systems contain some of this element naturally, the chemical compound, such as that which is added to our water, is not natural and can compromise the immune system.

People with allergies to chlorine, if unaware that Portland's water contains this compound, may find their health adversely affected and will not know the source of the problem.

Even without allergies, free radicals can take a toll on the body over time causing cellular breakdown that can lead to premature aging and a variety of illnesses including bladder cancer.

I find it odd that these facts - which are readily available to anyone willing to do a little research - are never mentioned in 'take back the tap' water campaigns.

The omission represents a gross disservice to the public. Pure water should not be bitter - that's the indicator. Do a taste test. Use a stainless steel, refillable water bottle, but for the sake of your health, fill it at home from your Brita or ceramic gravity well filter, not straight from the city's tap.

Lisa Gorlin

Northeast Portland

Industry must produce results

It used to be that industry and commerce rose or fell on the merit of what it had already produced, not on what it might produce if thus-and-such would only transpire.

'Mights' live in pigs' ears. The eggs that our civic leaders are laying may be chickens that will never hatch (South Waterfront building gets cash, July 9).

'Play now and pay later' is going to catch up with Portland when the tax subsidies for the Pearl and the South Waterfront expire. Everyone who bought into the idea that a stake in those behemoths would yield a tidy return in a few years will not be as enthusiastic as the reality of the chances they took set in.

Christopher W. Osborn

Southeast Portland

First, use up the unleased space

While I think government spending in a recession is an important stimulus, this (bioscience) building may not be a wise investment at a time when there is so much unleased space in so many new buildings downtown (South Waterfront building gets cash, July 9).

Kurt Slipsager


Public will profit from GI bill

This bill is a tremendous resource for the returning veterans (Colleges set for new tide of vets, July 9). The returning vets are deserving of this financial assistance, and the public is going to profit greatly by having serious students in schools who will graduate and contribute mightily to society.

I went to college under the Korean War Bill, PL550, and it allowed me to become an engineer and make a great living.

William S. Hamilton


Teens need to develop career paths

For those graduating high school, it's difficult trying to 'beat feet' to find a paying job in the post-primary education world (Two chances for teen jobs - slim and none, July 2).

For those that haven't graduated high school yet, eliminate your expenses and go out, volunteer or get internships! Try to get as (much work experience) as possible before your senior year to help develop a career path. Your primary schooling is going to be one of the rare opportunities you get to try different things to see what you enjoy best.

Teens shouldn't be worrying about building their cash reserves during the summer and should be more focused on their education. I grew up in a rural area and didn't have many opportunities, but I still focused on what piqued my interests, and I was able to go into secondary education with specific goals because of my volunteer experiences.

Chris Arnesen


Selling property to NAYA a win-win

I admire the work, workers and students at NAYA, the Native American Youth and Family Center (At last, a place to call home, July 2). It appears to be a well-managed program with a leader who is willing to work hard.

Selling this property to this group is a win-win conclusion and I applaud Portland Public Schools for working to facilitate this.

Congrats and best wishes on your almost-new home, NAYA.

Cindy Bennett

Happy Valley