Sten will go out on top

by: DAVID PLECHL, As he prepares to leave office next month, Commissioner Erik Sten earns praise from one reader who admires his moxie while another questions his money management skills.

It's incredibly refreshing to hear that Erik Sten will end his time with the Portland City Council by continuing his great work to secure affordable housing and end homelessness (Sten's vision clears hurdle, Feb. 26).

Kudos to an elected official who has remained a bold, consistent champion on behalf of people who often are sidelined by big business interests in our thriving city.

Sten said he has remained on the job to make certain the things he holds dear get accomplished and completed. Many of us hope that the next person to hold Commissioner Seat No. 2 will have Sten's same moxie.

Bravo, Erik! Great work at ending your time in public life on a very high note.

Julie Massa


Ask harder questions about money move

Your recent article on the Sten-proposed money shuffle from the Pearl to outer Southeast neighborhoods schools (over the objection of the city's own attorney) perfectly exemplifies the 15-year battle between taxpayers and government (Analysis puts Sten proposal in doubt, Feb. 29).

Taxpayers can't sue Sten when funds are mismanaged in this manner because he is protected from lawsuits by statute. In the private sector, this would be called racketeering.

Of course, the purpose of this money shuffle ignores the fact that the city of Portland instituted a school surcharge in 2008 on new residential construction at $1 per square foot.

I am proudly paying $2,500 more on my new Southwest Portland 2,500-square-foot home than I would have paid last year, but apparently that's not enough.

Someone probably will use the money to pay for something else, and then tell us that there isn't enough money to send my child to school.

My fervent hope is that in similar articles this newspaper will ask even harder questions in the future:

• Isn't there a system already in place to build new schools in underserved areas?

• What was the Pearl money supposed to have been spent on, and how will those plans suffer in the future?

• Why is Sten not worried about breaking the law?

David Sideras

Southwest Portland

Actions to save Earth need to start now

When are we going to get serious about global warming? If we continue to make the small movements forward - but don't make the larger steps - we're going to have to face large-scale changes in disaster mode.

We need to transition to a form of government in which our leaders can take bolder steps immediately on our behalf. If we all agree that there should be no more dumping of chemicals in our rivers, then the practice needs to end now - not 20 years from now.

If we believe that trees should be left standing to do the work of carbon sequestration and breathing out oxygen, then there should be a moratorium on all logging. Period.

If salmon are really important to us, then dams will have to be removed. Tough decisions are going to have to be made. We need to get started now and not wait for our grandchildren to have to face the issue.

Albert Kaufman

Northeast Portland