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Let's rise above election trivality

To the Editor:

I was asked to sign a petition this week that said some '… abuse the public trust every time they ask trivial questions about gaffes and 'gotchas' that only political insiders care about.

Enough with the distractions - (they) must focus on issues that affect people's daily lives.'

This petition would fare well in West Linn, but it was actually a request by Moveon.org in response to commentator questions at the recent Obama/Clinton debate.

Editor and Publisher called this week's ABC presidential debate 'perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years.'

I, for one, refuse to be dumbed down.

On the national level as well as the local level, I beseech us all to rise above this triviality.

We may not agree on all the issues, but can we agree to talk about the issues?

Valerie Baker

West Linn

Oppose Colombia free trade act

To the Editor:

The Colombia Free Trade Agreement is currently the subject of fierce debate in Washington.

Most Democratic leaders say a free trade deal with Colombia is inappropriate at this time given the country's horrendous human rights record.

More than 2,300 trade unionists have been assassinated in Colombia since the early 1990s, and more than 97 percent of the killers continue to walk the streets with impunity.

We've already seen how past trade agreements have caused Oregon jobs to be shifted to countries with cheaper labor costs.

If passed, the Colombia trade deal would require Clackamas County residents to compete head-to-head for jobs with people who are literally forced by death squads into accepting sweat-shop-working conditions.

This is a race to the bottom in which nobody wins, except for a small handful of international investors.

Congresswoman Darlene Hooley has yet to state her position on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Her indecision on this matter is baffling.

After serving her district ably for many years, one would hope that indifference toward human rights abuses and the loss of Oregon jobs is not the way she wants to be remembered.

Arthur Stamoulis, Oregon Fair Trade

Campaign director

Portland