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We all deserve safe food

by: L.E. BASKOW, Health department officials have good reasons for enforcing time and temperature food regulations — even with surplus food that could be donated, a letter writer says.

Peter Korn's article (Food folly, Oct. 19) presents a valid issue: local restaurants trashing surplus food instead of donating it to charities.

However, I was troubled that the health department, which exists to protect the public from health threats, was criticized for enforcing an existing regulation specifying temperature and time for safe food.

Food stored outside the specified 40- to 140-degree temperature and four-hour time limit provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, including those that cause salmonella, botulism, shigellosis and staph infections.

Food-borne illness is a serious issue affecting 76 million people, hospitalizing 300,000 and killing 5,000 in the U.S. every year (according to the Centers for Disease Control).

Further, we should consider the fact that this population not only lacks access to food, but also to health care.

Immediate health care is imperative after contracting these infections. Common symptoms of food-borne infections include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Infections also can cause miscarriages, birth defects, kidney failure, chronic illnesses, disabilities and death.

The needy who are the subjects of the article deserve the health department's protection just like everyone else.

Tami Miles

Southeast Portland

Safe streets, rivers aren't for 'wing nuts'

Phil Stanford excoriates Commissioner Sam Adams for having the temerity to propose in his Safe, Sound and Green Streets initiative a minuscule gas tax and street maintenance fee that would help repair potholed streets and improve the quality of water in our streams and rivers.

Stanford states that (Adams will talk about) 'bikes, greenspaces and streetcars, even when the real issues may be public handouts for developers and windfalls for public employee unions.'

Since when were bikes and greenspaces irrelevant issues in Portland?

As recently as last November Portlanders and the rest of the region voluntarily taxed themselves to the tune of $227.4 million to preserve greenspaces, improve water quality in our waterways, and build bicycle and pedestrian paths.

Stanford refers to people who care about such issues - more than 60 percent of the electorate who voted for cleaner rivers and streams and protected habitat - as the 'wing-nut left.'

Call me a wing nut; call me a screwball; hell, you can even call me liberal, but if Adams reduces pollution in our streams by building more green streets and addresses the fact that 40 percent of the polluted water that flows into the Willamette River and its tributaries comes from our streets and parking lots, and does something about it, he has my vote.

Mike Houck

Urban Greenspaces Institute director

Northwest Portland

'Presumed innocent' goes for police, too

To all of you fine, upstanding citizens who want to play judge, jury and executioner, I have a suggestion (Officer faces misconduct probe, Oct. 5).

Why don't you take 10 hours out of your mundane lives and head down to the nearest Portland Police Bureau precinct and volunteer for a ride-along with the men and women who put their lives on the line every day for your community?

Take a good look at what they do every day.

I'm sure Portland has some bad cops. But in this country, I thought you're supposed to be innocent until proved guilty?

Seems to me this should apply to police officers as well. Let the facts come out and the truth prevail.

Gil Kendall

Tucson, Ariz.

Having no home is still not a crime

Too bad police officers Vince Moreschi and Charles Fender 'lost their hammer' (Zoned out, Oct. 9) and couldn't book the three beer drinkers on a '57.'

But good for Mayor Tom Potter and Alejandro Queral of the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center for being troubled by these exclusion zones.

Since when has being homeless, or drinking beer, been a crime?

Richard Trupp

Raleigh Hills

Who tells students they're accountable?

It's now fashionable to only hold schools accountable when it comes to bad student behavior (After gunfire, Jefferson boosts security, Oct. 16).

When parents or the kids themselves don't hold up their end of the bargain, we scream, 'Where are the parents?' but continue blaming schools for students' not reaching standards.

I'm as fun-loving as anyone but was shocked at the way some students behaved when I first started working at a public school a decade ago. I worked at several school districts over the years and have seen lousy parents and students who need major lessons in work ethic, morality and manners.

They're at every school, in every district. They get off scot-free when it comes time to assign blame for lack of achievement.

I was brought up a conservative and don't feel it's right to hold only schools accountable. In my upbringing, if you didn't show up with regular attendance, try hard, ask the teacher for help or do the work, you deserved to flunk.

We can't make laws requiring good parenting, so we continue to blame the schools. Jefferson isn't the only school with this problem; it's everywhere.

Sid Louie

Southeast Portland

Faithful also need to heed common sense

How easily we forget that the scandals making headlines concerning religious figures have come from all races (Arrest divides church, Oct. 19). When will we learn to act with common sense?

If you're part of a congregation where financial statements are not disclosed or where unnecessary physical contact allegedly occurred, there is no scripture that can condone such unethical behavior.

Yes, we teach about mercy and forgiveness, but that does not give us the license to act out with depraved behavior. Forgiveness is based on our desire to change.

I'm almost positive that there will be other victims who will come forward, because those who use their calling to manipulate and coerce usually have an abundance of failings that they are covering up.

Noemi Valentin

Labelle, Fla.

New elections system is a great model

Lots of fresh new faces in Portland politics is the result of Voter-Owned Elections. More participants and more vigilant monitoring of the reform program by the city auditor are identifying a few bugs and fixing them fast.

Way to go, Portland!

Now we need public financing campaign reform in Salem and Washington, D.C.

Judy Davis

Lake Oswego

Hey, tall folks, stand up and be counted

I personally know Jane Baldwin through the local chapter of Tall Clubs International, the Portland Skyliners (Q and A, Oct. 12).

Knowing her is a wonderful experience. The article failed to mention that Baldwin has an engaging, warm, enthusiastic personality and lights up a room with that smile and her warmth.

The best part of being in the tall club, aside from the fact that for the first time in my life I feel like a midget, is looking other people in the eye when you are speaking to them. Especially other women! It's an amazing experience.

TCI and the Portland Skyliners are great organizations. I do feel we could reach out to youngsters a little more, because when you're a teenager it's hard to be the tallest person in the school, especially for girls.

I am very happy to be very tall - thanks to my parents, who kept telling me how great it was and always pinched my shoulders back to force good posture.

K.J. Tierney

Hillsdale