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Government: Stay out of farming

Editor’s note: This is an open letter to state Rep. Ben Unger, in response to his guest commentary (“Ag economy a silver lining to gray skies”) in last week’s Hillsboro Tribune.

Mr. Unger: I read your commentary. What I have noticed around Washington County is the growing number of “farm labor contractors.” Fifty years ago, illegal migrant workers came and harvested the crops while being paid directly by the farmer. Today, due to government rules and regulations, another “layer” has been added into the equation — the farm labor contractor.

We still have the next generation of illegals harvesting the same crop on the same farm. The only addition is a middle man. He produces nothing, contributes nothing to the economy and in many cases swindles the workers much more than the farmer did 50 years ago. This is what happens when big government gets into the farm industry.

My city, Cornelius, now has more illegal residents than legal residents. The police department in Cornelius can no longer offer 24-hour-a-day coverage. The city manager has now hired a Washington County deputy (and patrol car) to cover the city during the swing shift. The newest truck the fire department has is 25 years old.

The new Virginia Garcia Medical Center brings more illegals here from thousands of miles away. A person who travels a great distance for free medical care does not stimulate a local economy.

While increasing “farms” is a noble gesture, it just doesn’t pay the bills. It is similar to bringing another “non-profit” business to town and calling it job growth.

The disappearing middle class would appreciate some of your effort being focused toward them.

Glen Singleton

Cornelius

Legislators need to stand up for solar

As a recent arrival from California, I always thought of Oregon as an environmental leader. And in so many ways it already is. But when it comes to solar power, we’re far behind. In fact, right now we get less than 1 percent of our energy from the sun.

Luckily, this spring our state legislators have the opportunity to put us in front on this issue. By passing strong solar policies, leaders in Salem can re-power our state with pollution-free energy from the sun that never runs out and is only going to get cheaper.

I urge leaders in Salem to stand up for our health and environment, and make Oregon a leader on solar power.

Ibolya Mandoki

Portland



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