Letters: Climate change view keeps exclusion alive
I was very disappointed to read Richard F. LaMountain's op-ed piece in the Aug. 15 Tribune, in which Mr. LaMountain supposes that ridding Oregon of undocumented immigrants will somehow address the problem of climate change.
This writing violates the Tribune's policy of publishing op-ed pieces by authors "who have demonstrable expertise in the subject matter at hand."
Mr. LaMountain's essay focuses on undocumented immigrants, namely people of color, as a source of environmental damage in our state, when the known primary sources of excessive carbon dioxide emissions are fossil fuel companies, corporate polluters, and governmental policies that support an extractive and exploitative economy. Undocumented immigrants are more likely to be the victims of climate change, not the culprits.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Mr. LaMountain's group, Oregonians For Immigration Reform (OFIR), as a nativist extremist group. The agenda of OFIR is not environmental protection. OFIR activities are part of a national organized anti-immigrant movement. OFIR is the leading force behind Initiative Petition 22, which would overturn Oregon's 30-year-old inclusivity law and compel local police to enforce federal immigration law.
Since the 1850s, when white settlers first developed a presence in Oregon, a dark history of exclusion has repeatedly been chronicled in our region. Many times over the past two centuries, local and state government officials, real estate agents and other business leaders have created and participated in exclusion policies that denied opportunities to and displaced Native Americans, African-Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Roma, Hispanics and Jews, often blaming these "others" for economic downturns, disease outbreaks and crime.
Mr. LaMountain's effort to shape the conversation regarding climate change issue keeps this evil history alive. Mr. LaMountain does not seem to understand that there is no "other," and that we are only one group, human beings.
Immigration rebuttal not a true response
Rep. Diego Hernandez's "My View" (Tribune Aug. 24) in response to the "My View" of OFIR's Richard F. LaMountain is not a true response to the overpopulation and related problems of traffic congestion and environmental degradation in the four decades I have lived in Oregon as a lawful U.S. citizen, which Mr. LaMountain has highlighted in his viewpoint.
As a representative in House District 47, Rep. Fernandez's responsibility is to devise ways to tackle problems Oregonians are facing. Instead he has drawn lines between the white population and other lawful immigrants and illegal immigrants, bringing out an ugly word — hate — not a sign of true leadership.
NAFTA: Put your money where your mouth is
President Donald Trump promised to be the "greatest jobs producing president in history." With NAFTA negotiations that started Aug. 16, it's time he puts his money where his mouth is.
In the years since the treaty first was signed into law, jobs and wages in our communities took a hit. NAFTA killed approximately 700,000 jobs nationwide, and also made it easier for corporations to go offshore. A new trade plan should push corporations to foster good, family-sustaining workplaces and higher pay for working people across North America.
As trade representatives and congressional leaders come together to rework this treaty, we can't hold our breath and hope for the best. We know what life has looked like living under NAFTA for nearly 25 years. A revised NAFTA must provide working families the freedom and opportunity to build better futures for themselves and our region. Anything less is a deal not worth taking.
Show a little kindness
"Gentrified" out of my longtime Northeast Portland neighborhood, I've found myself living in downtown Portland for the past three months. Although this has been quite difficult at times, I've come to certain conclusions regarding our city's homeless population, and I venture some suggestions regarding their plight:
• Many are decent folk. Be kind to them.
• Recognize their existence. Take the earplugs out of your ears and keep your thumbs off the smartphone for at least some of the day.
• Offer them a cigarette, perhaps. This can open the door to an interesting discussion. Some of their stories are amazing. Many have crossed the U.S. in search of the American dream. This is the new Oregon Trail.
Raising the bottle deposit has allowed many of them to scramble for a living wage. Why not double the deposit, maybe extend it to wine bottles? I wouldn't mind this "sacrifice." It's a little step, but it's one in the right direction.
While we wrestle with the issue of short- vs. long-term housing, how about helping them with another fundamental need: cleanliness. I'd like to see some bathhouses where people can wash themselves and their clothes. This might just encourage some self respect.
Finally, I'd like to thank all the natives who traveled out of town to view our recent eclipse. It seemed like there weren't as many people around, and it was pleasantly mellow. Just goes to show that Gov. Tom McCall was right: By all means, come and visit — but please don't stay. Err, OK. Some of you guys can stay. Let's see if you can handle the rain.
Anybody for California?