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Readers' letters: An app for that? Not for all TriMet riders

Not everyone has a cell phone or a handheld device so I hope that backups and alternatives are available (TriMet hopes new ticket app clicks with bus, rail commuters, May 16).

I have some questions: After two years in development, the new apps will only be available to Apple and Android users? How many TriMet users (other than students or upper-income) have the required handheld devices or phones? Many riders are low-income or retired.

How will this new technology address the chronic problem of nonpaying riders?

What other major metropolitan city in the United States already is using this technology and how is it working? I didn’t see any mention of this in the article.

If TriMet is the first and is beta testing this program, I have to say I wish it wouldn’t, given its budget problems and the local economic situation. Why not choose a system that is proven in another venue and go with that? We really can’t afford to be “cutting edge” when it means raising ticket prices and cutting routes to make it so.

A minimum purchase of $5? Sorry, but as a streetcar rider I prefer to pay as I go (and I don’t own an electronic device anyway). I should have that option.

Fix the ticket stations we have now or make available a scanable ticket that can be purchased and will only let a rider on the bus, streetcar, MAX or WES if they have paid.

Once again, while I appreciate that this will make life easier for people for whom life is already easier, I resent the presumption on the part of the government, whether it be local or federal, that everyone owns or can afford to own the latest technology and embraces the idea of an app for everything.

Michael Taylor

Northwest Portland

TriMet app plan is out of order

The story (TriMet hopes new ticket app clicks with bus, rail commuters, May 16) says, “At this time, the system is only available on Apple and Android. (Nat Parker of app developer GlobeSherpa) says a version for Windows and Blackberry operating systems will be developed in the future.”

And yet it appears Parker is ready to do away with the paper passes available to everyone now and replace them with the electronic ones fairly soon.

So is TriMet going to buy its customers these devices (smartphones) so they can use the electronic apps? How about those of us who have cheapo phones because that’s all we can afford? And those who don’t care to have cell phones at all?

Will people still be able to use their little paper passes? Once again, TriMet has to show off to the rest of the country with the shiniest, latest, greatest and most expensive, and the heck with the poor rider who really relies on public transportation to get around at all hours.

KOIN TV’s Jeff Gianola’s recent interview with TriMet’s General Manager Neil McFarlane was an excellent expose of what really goes on in that organization. But it does not look like anything will be changing for the better anytime soon.

Vicki Harrison

Southeast Portland

Put some money where mouths are

Now that fluoride will not be put in our city water, I hope to see our taxes raised for a substantial increase in government spending for dental health for children and adults, including education about the benefits of fluoride and free fluoride toothpaste for all schools and clinics.

Susan Bexton

Southwest Portland

Keeping kids safe is everyone’s job

Oregon added a new tool to help keep children safe this year when it expanded the list of professionals who are required to report suspicions of child abuse.

In addition to teachers, medical professionals and other established “mandatory reporters,” the new law increased the list of public and private professionals who must report child abuse, including: all employees of organizations providing child-related services or activities such as scout groups and summer camps; all employees of higher education institutions; and paid coaches, assistant coaches and trainers of child athletes.

These additions are a step toward increasing child safety. Yet, we must remember that each and every citizen plays a crucial role in keeping children safe.

Daily, we see the devastation of child abuse at the Children’s Center. Though we applaud the increased responsibility placed on adults, we don’t believe the Jan. 1 expansion goes far enough. Every citizen needs to notify authorities when they suspect a child may be experiencing abuse or neglect. You can make a world of difference to a hurting child by acting on your concerns.

The expanded reporting law means increased education is needed about how to respond, and when to call in suspected cases of abuse. We encourage you to contact Children’s Center if you have questions or would like a presentation about child abuse reporting and other related topics. Call the Center at 503-655-7725 or visit childrenscenter.cc.

Make this a community that will protect kids from child abuse. Call the Children’s Center today to learn how you can partner with us to end child abuse in our community. And most importantly, call the Clackamas County Child Abuse Hotline at 971-673-7112 if you are concerned about the safety of a child.

Barbara Peschiera

Executive director, Children’s Center

Oregon City

School funding falls short by millions

How much does it cost to fund a school district?

What do most people consider the best schools on the west metro side of Portland? If you took a poll, I bet most people would say Jesuit, Catlin Gabel or Oregon Episcopal. They are great schools with a high percentage of kids (90 percent) going off to four-year universities.

Tuition at these schools is $14,125 for Jesuit, $24,000 for Catlin Gabel and $26,544 for OES. These are private, free-market prices for a quality education, so $10,000 per kid for public schools makes it seems like we are underfunded.

I say underfunded because I do not feel education is an area in which we can be cheap. We should be trying to create the best environments with the best teachers, like these private schools. So with that in mind and taking Jesuit’s full tuition of about $14,000 by 39,000 (kids in the district), we need about $546 million each year to properly fund schools with good environments and good teachers.

For 2013, the Beaverton School District budget only had $304 million in revenue. Per my math, it looks like we are short about $242 million (by the way, none of these private schools provide busing services for their kids, so we will need some funding for that also).

Chris Walton

Beaverton

Bees’ habitat gets whacked by county

I just read your article on honey bees (Portlanders add bee crisis to area’s honey-do list, May 16) and hope our local New Seasons Market can install the hives on the roof. Later this morning, I was driving along the side of Mount Scott on Bob Schumacher Road above Interstate 205 and saw Clackamas crews weed-eating along the roadside.

Mount Scott had, until fairly recently, considerable grazing land and fields with good vegetation for bees. The road crew mowed down huge clumps of daisies, poppies, lupine, etc., along with the grass. Seems to me it all would have made pretty good bee habitat, along with some of the sloping grass hills down to Interstate 205.

Maybe Oregon needs a Lady Bird Johnson.

Linda Schwartz

Southeast Portland

Residents pay high price for port’s plans

The “Port of Portland balks at the cost of West Hayden Island” (May 16)? This is all fine-and-dandy for jobs, but what about the wildlife and the homes of more than 1,000 low-income residents in the manufactured home community within a quarter-mile to a half-mile of this disaster?

These residents will not get jobs at the port since they cannot join the closed longshoreman’s union, and many are disabled. Where will these people go? Nowhere; they will be trapped there by their poverty and a lack of affordable housing.

This is a crime against man and nature, and if the city does this, it should be ashamed of itself. I for one will leave Oregon and move elsewhere if this is how Portland treats its citizens.

Lucinda Karlic

Chairwoman of Hayden Island Livability Project

North Portland

Does the Tribune love big government?

Is all the Portland media a collection of shills for the city government? It seems that way (Few bumps in shift to parking permits, May 9).

I wasn’t pleased to see the piece on parking in Northwest Portland seemingly praising the parking authority. Does the Tribune understand that this is a money-making gambit for the city? Doling out tickets is a cash cow, obviously.

Do you pro-government shills (well, as long as the government is left-wing, I assume) know that people who don’t pay those $80 tickets get turned in to the Oregon Department of Revenue, who essentially triple the ticket and send a payment-due notice with the threat of liens on their home or property if payment is not received within 10 days of the notice. People who may have received a parking ticket for the most understandable reasons are now treated like tax cheats because it is just that important that the government get its due, and the old way of using collection agencies wasn’t working.

It’s disgusting since so many good people get tickets for ridiculous reasons. Not that the Tribune lefties care. Big government is good, and huge government that screws people even better.

D.R. Roberts

Gresham