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Readers' letters: Public wants its say on city street tax

Regarding the road-user fee about to be foisted on Portland residents by Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick without discussion or a vote (by the public), I think we may have another referendum on city council overreach along the lines of the fluoridation issue and misuse of water bureau funds (City street fee tries to avoid political traffic, May 27).

I propose that the mayor and the other council members take turns riding the east-side streetcar so that citizens can share their views on this and other matters that concern them, for $1. It may not put a significant dent in the $40 million and counting that they hope to raise with this new fee, but it’ll at least help support the streetcar.

In the words of George Harrison’s “Taxman,” “... if you walk the street, I’ll tax your feet ...”

Roger Noehren

Southeast Portland

Proposed street fees will hurt us all

I did not realize until reading the paper that the proposed city street fees will apply to businesses and government entities as well as homes (Street fee on fast track, fate uncertain, web story, May 22).

So virtually everyone and everything in Portland will now be taxed again. I will pay it at home, at my business, at my school, at my bus and MAX, at my museum, at my gym, at my library, at my coffee shop, at my restaurant, and even at my morgue.

Everyone will pay it in dozens of repetitions per person. Every cost in my life in Portland will now go up as all these organizations pass the costs on to me. Rather than an equitable tax, this is a bomb on the Portland economy.

Bill Badrick

Northwest Portland

Want better roads? Reach for your wallet

The most enjoyable thing about Dave Lister’s guest columns is the predictability (Portland’s anti-car history is backing up a lot of traffic, guest column, May 6). Not only does he carry on and on with nary a fact to slow him, he’s never met a good idea he didn’t like.

If you’re actually dissatisfied with the condition of the state’s highways, roads and bridges, you could advocate for an increase in the gas tax. Frankly, as conservatives are fond of saying, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

So Dave, since you obviously use the roads, bridges and highways the taxpayers built for you, maybe you should start paying for that use rather than complaining about their “inadequacy.” Isn’t two decades of “free lunches” the epitome of welfare for drivers who use (and in doing so, add wear and tear to) those roads?”

William P. Hurley

Southwest Portland

Burbs don’t want Portland road agenda

This is an open letter to Portland city Commissioner Steve Novick: When the Tribune published my original piece (May 6), it was suggested that you might respond. Discussing that with my employees, I told them that your response would be right down the party line, and it is. Everything you have written here was totally predictable (Portlanders want transportation alternatives, guest column, May 22).

Thank you, though, for recognizing that electric cars do rely on fossil fuels. Usually you guys, when comparing those to internal combustion vehicles, don’t point that out.

Close-in downtown commuters, many of whom work for the city, state or county, often do commute by bicycle, and you love to tout that 6 percent figure. But you should get out of the office and take a drive someday around the greater metro area during rush hour. Check out Route 217, I-84, I-205 and Highway 26, and then try to tell me that 6 percent of the people using those roads are on bicycles. It’s as ludicrous as saying that 15 percent of them are riding TriMet.

If you built a moat around Portland and proceeded building your transit-oriented utopia within your city limits, I wouldn’t care. But you’re not satisfied with keeping your agenda in Portland. You want to push it on the rest of us.

Dave Lister

Tigard

Common sense should prevail with roof issue

“... but during the winter the increased energy use needed while using a cool roof will cause more carbon emissions due to the increased use of the heating fuel source (i.e. electric, natural gas, wood, etc.).”

Once again, the claims above are being made without substantiation (“Cool roof” doesn’t cool high energy costs, guest column, May 29). The science to back this up is thin at best, so let’s use some common sense, if that is still allowed.

In the winter, especially in the northern climates, not unlike Portland, there is constant cloud cover and even snow that covers roofs. How then can there be a heating penalty? Homes or businesses already do not receive heat from the winter sun.

A benefit that is often overlooked is the nonenergy-related impact of keeping a roof cool as we all know that heat and the sun’s rays accelerate the aging of a roof. Why wouldn’t you want your roof to last as long as it can? This just doesn’t make sense unless someone wants your roof to fail prematurely so they can sell you a new roof.

Matt Kolb

Camarillo, Calif.

So what does it take to run for office?

The Tribune suggests that “(Dennis) Richardson is hardly a household name in this state, but he does possess the minimum credentials necessary to make a run for statewide office” (Big issues await Kitzhaber-Richardson race, editorial, May 22).

I am in no way defending, much less supporting, Dennis Richardson. However, “minimum credentials necessary?” Really? Are you saying that a multi-term elected member of the Oregon Legislature and former co-chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is minimally credentialed for statewide office? Really? Who would you consider well-qualified?

Perhaps the Republican basketball player (former Trail Blazer Chris Dudley) who never held elective office, moved to Washington to avoid Oregon taxes, and ran last time for governor, then lost and left the state?

Or, how about Republican Monica Wehby, who has never held public office but aspires to make her first run for Oregon’s U.S. senator?

Even with vote by mail, 25 percent of age-eligible Oregonians are not registered to vote. Only 33 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the May 20 election. Both statistics are an indelible indictment of our Oregon educational system and its failure to teach and train young Oregonians to be responsible citizens.

Oregon voters couldn’t care less about the “visions” of gubernatorial candidates. Most voters will pay no attention to the governor’s race, or any race for that matter, until about a week or so before the general election in November.

The vast majority of registered Democrats will vote for Kitzhaber, the vast majority of registered Republicans for Richardson and the NAVs — nonaligned voters like me — will break strongly for a name we are comfortable with, John Kitzhaber.

Richard Ellmyer

North Portland

Build it, but we need a place to park

Regarding your article about development in Lents, this would be great except there is no parking in Lents and no shoulders for on-street parking (Change ready to pounce on Lents, May 27).

Krista Dennis

Southeast Portland

Infill product of state’s land-use system

What’s interesting is that the people who are concerned about infill and driving density into the core of neighborhoods vote for the politicians who advocate the Oregon land-use system (New infill rule riles up neighbors, May 27).

Infill is not some evil creation of developers; rather, it is what the land-use system does. This is the goal. This is “urban planning.”

As with most things, many people support ideas in abstract and then recoil when it applies to them.

Chris Hawes

Damascus

Association makes its case on wolves

This is in response to your article (Endangered wolves need our protection, Sustainable Life, May 15): The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is a grassroots membership organization with a 100 percent volunteer board. Our lobbyist has never met Kim Beeler, and her quote attributed to him was mistaken.

A lot has happened since the meeting two years ago Ms. Beeler referenced, including a wolf litigation settlement and study published by Oregon State University on the Impact of Previous Exposure to Wolves on Temperament and Physiological Responses of Beef Cattle Following a Simulated Wolf Encounter.

The OCA believes predator control, including management of Canadian gray wolves in Oregon, is an important function of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. It’s imperative the ecological balance necessary for all wildlife to thrive is implemented and monitored. Balance is not only important for our environment but also to continue the ability of the cattle industry to contribute to Oregon’s economy.

Predator populations must be carefully planned to meet that balance for the best interests and safety of those involved. The OCA supports development of professional, science-based management programs with significant input from the local residents of areas impacted.

Ranchers and the beef industry are proud of our commitment to conservation and sustainability.

We are ready to find solutions to Oregon’s wolf and predator management strategy that meet the needs of the animals involved, livestock and wildlife, and the people involved, those living in our rural communities. We look forward to engaging in work with those invested in Oregon’s success economically, environmentally and for the future of all who call Oregon home.

Kay Teisl

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

Salem