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Readers' Letters: Don't sacrifice environment for coal jobs

Your readers deserve to know more about the coal export situation than is stated in the letters by Jodi Guetzloe Parker and Russ Garnett (Readers’ Letters, Feb. 7).

For starters, the “fringe groups” that oppose the coal exports include the Sierra Club and about 100 other member groups that make up the Power Past Coal coalition. At recent public hearings held by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the equivalent in Washington, hundreds of Power Past Coal supporters testified against the export of coal versus a handful people who testified on behalf of the exports.

And the “scare tactics” referred to include stating the facts that the environmental effects of exporting coal from Montana through the Columbia Gorge to Asia would have serious health effects for everyone along the route and would end up costing far more jobs than would be created.

We sympathize with workers who would like more jobs in the Northwest, but damaging the environment to create a few jobs handling dirty coal is not the way to do it.

Rodger Winn

Southwest Portland

Gun control argument misses mark

The Second Amendment. Clearly written. Shortest of all the amendments to the Constitution, states: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

All, and I mean all firearms regulations, enacted by all levels of government are in my view are illegal and should be challenged in court.Why? Legislators are going after “things,” not criminals/mentally deranged and dangerous perpetrators.

The first, very first, item on their agenda was gun control. Why? It’s emotionally “easy” to pass. It directs the debate among voters to an issue instead of the basic problem(s): security of schools and mental health issues.

I suggest the legislators use common sense and reason, instead of emotion and “crisis-opportunity” to get to the heart of this problem.

Tom Klingbeil

Warren

Don’t force sick workers to choose

As a working parent with an inevitably sick kid (whatever illness is going around the day care that month) and a Portlander who really takes pleasure in our excellent food scene, I agree wholeheartedly with the recent Tribune opinion piece (City paid sick leave is good for all of us, Jan. 24).

Staying home to care for a sick child is an important job for parents. Being forced to decide between caring responsibly for a sick child and income you might need to feed or house that child is an impossible lose-lose scenario — and we’re more than that in Portland.

And I don’t want to get sick from a sick cook or server who shouldn’t be handling people’s food, nor do I want them to have to work sick when they should be recovering at home (away from my food).

Just like laws for minimum wage or workplace safety, paid sick days should be a basic employee right. And I believe that it’s government’s role to pass labor laws in the interest of society as a whole — not mine. I hope Portland passes the sick time policy that’s been proposed. What a step forward that would be for our city.

Danae Davison

Southeast Portland

Sick pay will improve family health

I have worked with children and families in Portland for 14 years, as the SUN program coordinator at a Portland Public Schools elementary school with 500 children.

Through SUN, I work directly with low-income families in our school community to help their children succeed in — and outside of — school. It is abundantly clear that families are struggling financially, and the frequency with which they must keep sick kids home from school — for the common and perennial issues like colds, flu, fever, “stomach bugs” and head lice — is troubling when they can’t afford to take an unpaid day off work.

Either the child comes to school anyway — which isn’t good for them or the rest of us — or the family loses much needed income or puts their job at risk.

A citywide paid sick time policy would help families keep needed income and care for sick children while improving public health. That’s a win-win for the whole community.

Diane Meisenhelter

Southeast Portland

Why do helicopters fly by own rules?

I live in Northeast Portland and deal with airport noise on a daily basis (Airport fight may have rough landing, Jan. 31).

Sometimes it is overwhelming, thus I relate to the Hillsboro situation noted in the Tribune story.

One of my concerns is helicopters. We were told by the Port of Portland that those craft (usually TV stations) fly by their own rules and do not answer to the port’s rules. Why?

Why are we subjected to the noise for the sake of banal traffic reports? Do we residents have any say in the airspace overhead? Where is the balance of needs of all of us?

Penelope Lichatowich

Northeast Portland

Thank you for story on airport issue

I very seldom comment on a newspaper article, but after reading this one (Airport fight may have rough landing, Jan. 31) about aviation, and our dying industry of general aviation, I wanted to say thank you (reporter Jim Redden) for doing all of your research, before writing a correct and informative article.

Bob Stark

Twin Oaks Airpark

Hillsboro

Article overlooked our urban wineries

I have typically enjoyed your local coverage of news and events, and have looked to your paper for truthful insights on these issues. However, in this article (Winemakers dive into Dinner, Jan. 17), you clearly overlooked many urban wineries in Portland by stating that the Southeast Wine Collective is “Portland’s only urban winery.”

As an “urban winery” owner in Southeast Portland, I have put countless hours of hard work into Alchemy Wine Productions while also working a full-time job. Alchemy Wine Productions has now proudly been open/fermenting/bottling/selling wine in Portland for over a year and a half. We are not a large-scale, nationally distributed household brand; however, we are a grass roots/community focused urban winery that was, among many others, completely disregarded in your article.

If you are interested in reporting factual news and maintaining credibility, I recommend that you research topics before boldly stating the untruth.

I am not just writing you for my own vanity, I am also writing to inform you that there is a great urban wine scene in Portland. Don’t be the last to get onboard.

Nic Donahue

owner/winemaker

Alchemy Wine Productions

Southeast Portland

Use tobacco settlement correctly

It’s estimated that 7,790 people will die from cancer this year in Oregon.

As a cancer (survivor, patient, caregiver, advocate), that’s a number I can’t ignore, and neither should our Legislature.Health care is an important issue in our state and throughout the country, which is why I’m glad the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, along with other leading health and health care organizations, recently released a Health and Prevention Policy Package that proposes investment recommendations for the state’s Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement funds, that have been, until recently, locked into debt services for the past decade.

The investment proposals fulfill the original intent of the settlement agreement, by reducing the cost of tobacco-related disease on the state, in addition to raising the profile of chronic disease in Oregon and putting efforts towards prevention.

Equipping community care organizations with funding, investing in our communities’ and children’s future and health and reducing tobacco use, are all tenets of the proposal.These are important issues to our state and these proposed health and prevention allocations will achieve substantial health care savings and improved health outcomes for Oregon.

Leigh A. Eicher

Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer

Action Network & Cancer Survivor

Northwest Portland

State rail plans run into county block

We will now see the fruits of November whereby anti-light rail forces were put in charge of our Clackamas County government.

In their first month in office, they have ordered voters to approve simple administrative questions such as “Should Tri-Met operate the new Portland-Milwaukie light rail line?” Duh.

If the voters say “No” then the (John) Ludlow-Tootie (Smith)-(Paul) Savas schemers have won by killing the new line and any others. They must want more vehicle traffic.

Next up: Oregon DOT is looking at a new high-speed rail line connecting Eugene to Portland. Whoa! It must run through Clackamas County and that means voters must authorize consideration of such a notion.

That’s thought-provoking except staffers can’t even think about it on county time unless voters say they can. Is this any way to run our government?

One wonders how long Clackamas County citizens will put up with such expensive, time-wasting foolishness.

Peter Toll

West Linn