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Keep labor laws in mind

by:  L.E. BASKOW, Day laborers get into the cab of a truck with the promise of work. While the city considers building a shelter for day workers, some say this type of temporary-help agency still must follow the laws.

Jennifer Anderson's July 24 article 'Laboring for answers at day-labor site' did not uncover all of the consequences of a city-facilitated 'hiring hall' for day laborers.

Is the city to become the employer of these individuals? Or will it merely be a referral agency?

If so, it will compete with the many temporary help agencies in our community. A temporary agency falls under the rules and regulations of that type of business. It presumably withholds the appropriate taxes and presumably pays employment taxes.

Will these prospective employers do the same? Just because it is day labor, the responsibilities of the employer may not be any different.

Lee Stapleton

Northwest Portland

Simple changes could solve problems

I think it's un-American to give illegals citizenship and jobs because they're filling our schools to overcapacity and forcing us to hire people who don't know the language.

If they want to be in America, please tell them to learn English.

Our forefathers came from all different nations; they worked and received help from no one. They learned and eventually understood English.

And I don't feel sorry for the workers who may be deported after the Del Monte raid (Immigration anxiety hits home, stays hot, June 15).

In my day, my family went out in the berry fields to pick. Farms had buses going into the city to pick up street people to work. We've got all these homeless kids begging for free meals, why don't buses pick them up and let them work for something?

We could solve two problems- illegal immigration and U.S. unemployment - by making some simple changes.

Shirley M. Hudnut

Northeast Portland

Regional plan for lamprey needed

I would like to address Frank Ray's caustic and inflammatory letter from July 17, 'Other factors harm eels,' concerning the July 3 article 'Eels slip into trouble.'

The decline and extinction of the Pacific lamprey did not come from overharvest; the construction and operation of dams has the greatest impact on lamprey productivity in the Columbia Basin, along with habitat destruction and, now, toxins.

For thousands of years, tribes have enjoyed a sustainable relationship with lamprey. Over the years, not only has the number of lamprey harvested declined, but the regulations associated with the tribal harvest also have become much more restrictive.

In the past five years, declining lamprey populations forced elimination of the commercial harvest for bait and biological specimens. Tribal access is restricted through tribal harvest permits; the number of harvest days has been reduced from 70 to 32 days per year.

This year tribal members harvested between 3,000 and 5,000 lamprey under their treaty subsistence rights. As an important part of their culture, they would never jeopardize the lamprey's survival, especially in the hopes of a 'payout.'

As advocates for a Columbia Basin lamprey conservation and management plan, the tribes actively work with the state of Oregon to establish appropriate harvest regulations and continue to work with the state to restore and effectively manage lamprey populations at Willamette Falls and throughout the basin.

The big 'payday' will come when a regional plan that preserves lamprey for future generations is fully implemented.

Fidelia Andy

Chairwoman, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

Lamprey decline has variety of reasons

In response to Frank Ray's July 17 letter, 'Other factors harm eels,' concerning the July 3 article, 'Eels slip into trouble,' I'd like to inform him that lamprey have declined in streams where they are not taken by humans.

A major factor in their decline is a decline in their oceanic prey species.

John Ost

St. Johns

Experiential learning beneficial to teacher

The July 17 article 'Where science and history collide' was very interesting.

I was a Benson Brat in the 1950s, and a poorly prepared chemistry teacher, who also taught physics, at Sand High School in the 1960s.

Young and inexperienced, I nevertheless was allowed to bring in new curricula in chemistry and physics, often by the seat of my pants.

These programs revolutionized my thinking. They helped me give my students a very different view of science from what I learned in high school and college.

Over the years, I've heard and studied about the possibility that these programs had a negative effect on science teaching. From my experience and my study of the issue, that's nonsense.

The main effect was how they educated poorly prepared teachers, and I was clearly a beneficiary.

Richard McQueen

Brightwood

Prison program could cut recidivism, costs

I read the Start Your Engines column on May 18 about the Highwallers Racing Team, 'Racing against time.' I've wanted to comment about the 5 percent recidivism rate of those who were in the program.

In the last few years, Oregon has built many new prisons at the expense of taxpayers. The Highwallers was a program run and supported entirely at the expense of the prisoners in the program.

Instead of building more prisons, why not bring back programs such as the Highwallers and give prisoners an alternative way of life?

With the amount of people committing crimes rising, why not work to lower the rates, instead of just building new prisons? Continually building new prisons is not the answer.

The Highwallers was a successful program that kept the recidivism rate down. It should be started again.

Sandra Wood

Falls City