Congress should stay focused on helping public

The bipartisan deal to reopen the government and avoid defaulting on federal obligations will allow us to avert an economic crisis, but we must recognize that too much damage has already been done. The government shutdown was unnecessary and harmful to public and private sector employees, businesses and families across Oregon and the country. 

This agreement should initiate a departure from the days of governing from crisis to crisis. I am hopeful that my colleagues who cheered on this shutdown have learned that the American people are harmed, as is democracy, when shutting down the government is used as leverage.

It’s time for all of my colleagues to work together on a common sense budget that balances growing our economy with the need to reduce our deficit. It’s time to set aside the divisive and destructive rhetoric. We still have a lot of work to do. It’s time for Congress to get back to finding solutions that benefit the American people.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici

U.S. representative for Oregon’s 1st congressional district

The real problem is piling up trillions in debt

Your commentary (“Willingness to crash the plane is unnacceptable,” News-Times, Oct. 9 issue) stated that a small band of hardliners are acting like hostage-takers, that their approach seemed to be give us what we demand or “we will crash the plane into the mountain.”

You don’t seem to have the slightest idea of what the problem is. It is the $17 trillion in debt that has piled up. It is the $60 trillion in unfunded spending obligations. It is the $250 billion per month spending without congressional control and without a budget.

Do you have an idea of the amount of interest now payable on the national debt? Do you realize that the artificial low interest rates will not continue and what the increase will be when a reasonable rate of interest is paid on the government obligations? It will be a very substantial portion of the total tax revenue received by the government.

With continuation of the present fiscal policy, there will be a crash. It will not be the result of the shutdown. It will be a disaster, and the country will never be the same. It will not be the result of acts of the members of Congress you criticize, but the insane fiscal policy you apparently approve.

Despite this, Obama refuses to negotiate.

Do you have children or grandchildren? I do. They will be the ones who will suffer the coming catastrophe.

Tom Moore


Intel needs to have continuous monitoring

I am 93 years old. I am very concerned about Intel’s application for a new toxic air emissions permit.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) needs to do a better job of making sure Intel does not allow fluorine-related toxic chemicals to be emitted. Intel’s emitting of fluorides and its combination with other chemicals has been shown to be injurious to people, especially the young, individuals who are not healthy, and the aged.

I certainly do not want our health compromised by Intel’s emissions. But just as important to us, we have close friends who have adult children who live within a couple of blocks of the Intel plant in Hillsboro who want to start a family. Intel’s emissions are toxic and can cause serious damage to the unborn child and also to the very young child. Intel should be required to have the most advanced scrubbers with the highest efficiencies (for all solvents, not just the ones that are currently listed as “volatile organic compounds”) and also for the silica that is emitted from their stacks.

Continuous air monitors are a necessity, and should be required; they would let DEQ and Intel know when spikes and emissions occur and adjust emissions accordingly.

Intel operates its plants 24/7/365, and is emitting toxins all the time. They should be required to be monitoring all the time, too.

Warren Lancaster

Forest Grove

Intel’s products clean, but processes dirty

Intel: Are you a clean semi-conductor manufacturer? Yes you are — for the chips and component parts you make. Your chips have to be made under the strictest conditions of cleanliness. Even your employees wear white coats and other apparel with special procedures to guarantee no dust or contaminant goes from the employee’s body to the chip. Some employees have told me they wonder whether Intel is as concerned about things going the other way — toxins from the environment into their bodies.

As much as I am concerned about employee safety and health, I am really concerned about the health of the people who live within a 25-mile dispersion radius from any Washington County Intel manufacturing plant. Many of the toxic chemicals, some heavier than air, are colorless and odorless. And it does not take much exposure to adversely affect a person’s health.

In addition to hazardous air pollutants, which include the hydrogen fluorides Intel has been emitting, I am concerned about the amount of greenhouse gases Intel wants to emit each year — 819,000 tons.

Fred Marsh, a research chemist for 39 years who worked at Los Alamos labs for more than 25 years, told me “819,000 tons of greenhouse gases Intel could release under the proposed permit is equal to 2,244 tons per day, 93.5 tons per hour, and more than 1.5 tons per minute.”

The current and proposed Intel air emission permits allow the release of an entire year’s amount of any permitted compound, no matter how toxic, in a day, or an hour, or as short a time as they wish. Marsh also said Intel’s New Mexico permit allows them to release 5.9 tons of phosgene (a deadly chemical warfare agent that caused 80 percent of the poison gas deaths in World War I) in an hour, which would kill thousands, if not tens of thousands, in nearby communities. Intel can say, but maybe not in good conscience, that they meet all state and federal guidelines!

Intel operates 24/7/365. I hope they will be good neighbors and install redundant equipment so when something fails to clean the air, another system is in place to do so. Anything else is unconscionable.

Dale Feik

Forest Grove

Candidate promises to hold Metro accountable for improving TriMet

My name is Jeremiah Johnson, and I declared on Sept. 9 to become a candidate for Metro president.

Part of my candidacy platform is to once and for all rein in TriMet. Metro has suddenly had a handful of press releases declaring how to make TriMet a better agency. The two biggest ones are plans to finally improve west side service and to form a volunteer citizen oversight committee of appointed applicants. They have been asked and have said they have had plans to improve west side service for 30 years, and other than the blue line MAX to Hillsboro, little has actually been done.

We know from the failure of past citizen oversight committees that they simply do not work. They do studies and give input, but have no power and are often ignored outright, while still being a talking point for those in power to make you feel like you have a voice when you do not.

I still propose a complete overhaul of TriMet. The corruption is still there and there is no guarantee that any oversight committee will make any improvements. Don’t fall for empty promises and sleight of hand. Whether you vote for me in May or not, remember to hold Metro accountable for actually improving TriMet as an agency. They have their own legal code, their own police, and they are supported by taxes, yet they are a private corporation with no elected representation.

The most dangerous point is, the committee will be appointed by Metro itself, meaning they will cherry-pick those who will make the least waves and agree with the council and tell everyone they are doing a good job.

Jeremiah Johnson


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