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Readers' Letters: Mayors demand 'responsible budget'

Mayors from throughout Oregon are coming together this year to stand with school boards, superintendents, teachers, parents and students, demanding a responsible budget for public K-12 schools.

And now, the two lawmakers who co-chair the budget-writing Ways & Means Committee of the Legislature are standing with us, too.

On Monday, the budget-writers — state Sen. Richard Devlin and state Rep. Peter Buckley — released a proposed budget that re-invests in our public schools. Their $6.75 billion “stability budget” would reverse the decades-long trend of constantly eroding school funding.

We thank them.

For too long, we have allowed Oregon’s public K-12 schools to fade. The results: increased class sizes; the elimination of arts, music and shop classes; the loss of librarians and counselors; long delays to replace aging textbooks and roofs.

Enough.

We mayors represent cities ranging from throughout the state, from Portland to Klamath Falls, and from La Grande to Lincoln City. We represent urban, suburban and rural communities. We are liberal and conservative, Republicans, Democrats and independents.

We are Oregonians, first and foremost, and we are calling on our legislators to step up for Oregon’s kids.

For residents, the social contract says: I will move into this town. I will work, I will pay taxes, I will vote. And in return, I want my tax money well spent. I want reliable services. And I want to know that my kid’s school delivers a world-class education.

Today, Oregon mayors and the budget-writers of the Oregon Legislature are standing with educators, students and parents, asking for the exact same thing.

Mayor Charlie Hales

and 26 mayors

Downtown Portland

Climate change forces us to face ‘storm’

When it comes to feeling the increased impact of global heating, Oregon’s got plenty of company (Climate change to reduce Mt. Hood snow, Feb. 14 Sustainable Life).

Whether it’s vanishing snowpacks, crippling droughts, unseasonal monsoons in Asia or invasive insect infestations, the consequences of the accelerating greenhouse effect are getting harder to ignore.

While a few communities and regions may see temporary benefits, the long-term struggle to cope with a radically transformed climate offers some of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced.

If there is a positive aspect to the metastasizing climate crisis, it’s that we humans may finally be forced to recognize that what we do today in our own neighborhoods can — and will — affect the lives of others, even if they’re distant in space and time.

To ensure happiness and prosperity for our descendants, we must recognize that in the face of the gathering storm, political boundaries and cultural differences are irrelevant.

Warren Senders

Medford, Mass.

Environmentalists blocking living-wage jobs

Urban environmentalists exerted their power over helpless rural communities, resulting in significantly reduced timber harvests the end of the last century.

For generations, timber jobs were a way of life, a family tradition. Now that we have transitioned to other industries, environmentalists continue to prevent us from working.You will never hear of those who believe in furthering a negative environmentalist agenda.

We all care about preserving the environment and believe in rational environmental policies. In order to protect the land we live on, we must be able to afford to live on that land. The economic future of rural Oregon depends on projects like the Port Westward Project at the Port of St Helens to create sustainable, living-wage jobs that empower us to provide for our families and our communities.

Ingrid Chamberlain

St. Helens

Coal facts contrary to brainwashed ideas’

The two letters supporting the coal transports and the Port Westward Project (Readers’ Letters, Feb. 7) use the same tactics they deride. Pull on the heartstrings of the poor school children and the lack of taxes to support basic services and the coal WILL probably be shipped from Louisiana and Texas because it is cheaper to do so and more efficient.

The facts are that the Port Westward Project will provide 80 or so full-time union jobs that are closed to the non-union local natives. No surprise there that the only support for this and other coal projects is the union and the companies paying them to run interference for the deep pockets of the industrial engine.

Coal dust in itself is not the only problem but the small pieces and particulates that make their way onto the ground and then into the water supply.So, Russ Garnett and Jodi Guetzloe Parker, you can report back to your puppet masters that the true facts are contrary to your brainwashed ideas.

Yes, we need jobs, but I thought technology was the way of the future. I grew up in the coal capital of England. I want to move forward toward the technology future, not backward to the Industrial Revolution.

Stefan Karlic

North Portland