Letters: Progress starts with basic decency
On my way back to my mountain home outside of the metro area, I took a break for a cup of coffee and a quick read of the Sept. 12 Tribune. After reading the article ("Local mayors battle bigotry") about local mayors joining the national effort to promote justice and equality with the stated purpose of standing against "hatred" and "white supremacy," I needed a second cup of coffee to stay awake.
This announcement was so imbalanced and incomplete and stated absolutely nothing. If there is to be progress, it starts with basic decency each of us offers to others. No demagogic proclamation by local politicians will move the ball forward.
My larger concern, totally unaddressed by the mayors, is the vigor of our First Amendment rights of the right to assemble, to speak, to believe or not believe in God as it weathers repeated assault by thugs acting with impunity all in the name of crusading against "hate speech" etc.
Real understanding and mutual respect comes from an educated and wise public, not from self-righteous politicians, many of whom privately harbor disdain for a genuine debate on matters dear to us.
Robert E. Repp
So many problems with our light rail
Do all the light rail systems in this country have as many problems as the one here in the Portland area? Certainly not the most dependable and efficient public transportation system. If too cold, have to go very slow. If too hot, have to go very slow. The ticketing equipment doesn't work. A vehicle is stuck on the tracks. A vehicle and light rail train have collided. The bridge is stuck up or down. Need to take a bus in lieu of the light rail. Crime to the light rail riders which most of it never even makes the news. Only two cars because of the turns in downtown Portland. A multitude of problems for an expensive public transportation system.
I receive email notices when there is a problem and I can't believe the amount of emails I receive on a regular basis. Though the email notices are a good service. Or there is an issue mentioned by the local news. The parking lots are full. And for many, it doesn't even go where we need to go.
Grateful for firearms protection order
Over 20 years ago, a dear friend took her life with a handgun. I knew she was struggling and feeling overwhelmed. I did not know she had access to a firearm, which she purchased at a gun show less than 24 hours before she used it for the first and last time. Her act was impulsive and irreversible; I think about her often, to this day.
I am grateful that Gov. Brown recently signed the Extreme Risk Protection Order into law to prevent the tragic and often deadly mix of precipitous mental health and firearms. Oregonians now have a process that friends and families can use to remove a firearm from someone in crisis and help keep that person from making a split decision to resort to a firearm. And that there are protections requiring a burden of proof be met. This law will keep Oregonians and our communities safer.
Bring back trades education
Nowadays there are many for-profit "trade schools" in the job-training marketplace. Students are trained for a specific niche job and after coursework are qualified to take a position in a clinic or other specific market sector.
Students are burdened with significant debt because these training programs are not inexpensive. Thirty years ago, this specific "niche" training was provided — in Portland at least — by Benson Polytechnic High School and Girls Polytechnical High School, free of charge. Auto mechanic, welder, radio and TV technology, carpenter, nurse (aide), secretary, hair dresser — many trades — were populated with students who graduated from these four-year high schools.
It's time these courses were reinstated in high schools to not only make trades more affordable, but to have a work force at age 18 instead of age 20 or 21. Portland Public Schools needs to revisit trades education as they were taught 50 years ago. Subjects may change, but the concept of training in high school should not have been eliminated.