During my first year in office, I have traveled to more than 30 school districts, and what I have seen is truly amazing. We have outstanding leadership from the classrooms to the district offices. We have students who meet (and exceed) our high standards. We have devoted parents and communities that have come together during a difficult economic period. We have some of the best teachers in the nation preparing students for lifelong success.

These assets are what set us apart from other states. But these strengths alone do not ensure a full school year, reasonable class sizes and opportunities to participate in athletics, debate, music and other programs. Adequate investments do.

Voters are now faced with an important decision: Do we want to fund our schools at a level that provides the foundation they need to deliver the results we all want Ñ academic success for every student?

Measure 30 helps to move us in that direction. If we want to keep the doors of opportunity open for all children, we need to fund education sufficiently. Let's keep moving forward on our efforts to create success for all!

Susan Castillo

State superintendent -of public instruction


Partnerships benefit-fishing industry

Your recent article 'Seafood titan flexes muscle' (Jan. 2) got some things right and other things wrong about our company and our industry.

Processors and distributors play a critical role in the seafood industry. We create markets for fish, process the fish into a finished product suitable for that market and then deliver it Ñ employing thousands of people along the way. Our company alone injects millions into the local economies of several coastal and inland communities through direct payroll, and even more through payments to fishing vessels.

In order to protect our industry and its jobs, along with other processors, our company is participating on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council advisory committee on fishing quotas. We are working cooperatively with fishermen, regulators and conservationists for a balanced, consensus-oriented plan that will ensure the long-term viability of the fishery resource.

The fishermen you interviewed, who do not do business with our company, are not representative of the fishing fleet as a whole or of our relationships with business partners. Pacific enjoys positive and long-standing relationships with the people we do business with Ñ fishermen, customers, vendors and others. We simply wouldn't be the successful company we are today without these positive and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Craig Urness-Pacific Seafood Group


TriMet needs-to toughen up

Hats off to Janine Robben for her extensive reporting on the oft-forgotten folks who can't afford to take off work due to inclement weather (Riders in the storm, Jan. 9). So often the upper-class and upper-middle-class folks who make most of the decisions affecting ordinary, hardworking folks forget that not everybody enjoys the privileges they do (in this case, staying home from work during a winter storm).

For example, more than a decade ago, TriMet decided, with very little discussion, to eliminate late-night 'owl' service as a cost-cutting measure. Untold graveyard-shift janitors and others probably lost their jobs as a result. They had no other means of getting to work.

It was especially good that the article was next to the report on TriMet's failure to keep MAX running at a time when transit was crucial to keeping things moving. I don't want to minimize the extreme challenge to TriMet's rail operations posed by the nastiest storm I've seen in my 44 years in Portland. However, besides Denver, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis (mentioned as possible sources of tips on cold weather light-rail operation that TriMet will study), consider that Boston, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and myriad cities in northern and central Europe continue to operate light rail and streetcars in challenging weather.

Let's hope TriMet doesn't study this to death but immediately takes the sensible, cost-effective steps to help keep MAX running the next time that a big storm hits. I don't think this was the last big storm of the season, from what I've seen in the long-term climate forecasts.

Fred Nussbaum

Southwest Portland

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