I’d like to smile at the apparent naiveté expressed by learned writers such as the Tribune’s editorial board (June 23 editorial) and the president of the Portland Business Alliance in calling the proposed 2 percent tax on businesses with sales over $25 million a “sales tax.”

Businesses can only dream of being able to pass along their expenses dollar for dollar — in this case penny for penny — to their customers. 

The other side of the supply-demand curve is demand.

Rather than pay the extra 2 percent a large corporation tries to tack onto the sales price, customers may choose to take their business elsewhere, such as local small businesses, who, as conservatives like to profess every election campaign, are the true job creators. 

I say I’d like to smile at the apparent naiveté of the tax opponents, except it is not naiveté at all. They know full well that this tax gives small Oregon businesses a (tiny) leg up on their larger and often out-of-state competitors, plus (finally) gives the state of Oregon a solid tax base that does not gyrate wildly with the economy, causing massive layoffs of teachers and first responders in a recession followed by shortages of the same during the next expansion.

Calling the proposed tax a “sales tax” is the worse bit of sophistry since the Republicans got away with calling the estate tax, meant to keep large fortunes from self-perpetuating through the generations, a “death tax.” 

If you love Oregon, love its small businesses, and perhaps even consider yourself a true small-town conservative Republican, vote for this tax. 

It’s the right thing to do. 

Brian A. Cobb

North Portland

Harassment: Why the delay in punishment?

Regarding the June 30 article about women construction workers being sexually harassed: First, I very much sympathize with the subjects of the front-page article. However, she’s getting no child support? The only reason that can be is if the father is deceased or incarcerated. The state of Oregon can ensure she gets some if the father of the children is alive and is not incarcerated.

Next, I lived in apartments where the manager also worked at a local trucking company. She indicated they had nearly 20 percent turnover for sexual harassment year-to-year. That’s not a small number, and that was back in 1988. I’m making no small deal about the horrors the women in the article dealt with. Nobody ever should. I’m surprised that those deeds went unpunished for so long considering how strict sexual harassment laws are. I’d like to know more why these things took so long.

Jeff Williams


No one should work for free

Regarding the (June 30) article “New federal overtime rule could slam nonprofits,” it’s  an oxymoron for a nonprofit organization, which supposedly exists to help people overcome exploitation and harm, to exploit its workers by forcing overtime — often working them for free. Nonprofits are notorious for underpaying staff. 

I interviewed for an office manager job at a local nonprofit. The managers said the job would require an expert in computer software and hardware who would be expected to stay at work “until the problem was solved.” That would be over and above my regular duties. The salary was low. I said, “How about just waiting till the next workday?” They were astounded by this question. I told them I could not imagine working under those conditions, so I walked out. 

Some of us have a life outside work. Others live at the office. The false dedication of living at the office is exploitive of other workers and should not be allowed. Such people who work for free set the standard for everyone else.

How many nonprofits have people at the top making huge salaries, while others are paid very low? 

Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette CEO Michael Miller earned $882,288 in 2014, according to the organization’s latest annual report. He likely remains the highest-paid CEO of a social services organization in Oregon.

Employers can’t always get away with forcing mandatory overtime, such as by “squeezing” current workers to avoid hiring new workers. Employee lawsuits against employers regarding excessive mandatory overtime are on the rise, particularly by salaried-exempt employees.

Because salaried-exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers may require them to work extra hours without extra pay. Even so, when forced, excessive work hours became the “norm” every workweek, some salaried-exempt employees filed and won so-called mandatory overtime lawsuits.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

Bad ideas are ruining Portland’s neighborhoods

Thank you for publishing the infill project commentary by Robin Harman, Christine Yun and Merrilee Spence (Our View, July 7). They are spot on.

Portland has been hijacked by short-sighted politicians and BPS bureaucrats, well-meaning but gullible activists, and soulless developers all in cahoots to propagandize neighborhoods into believing their RIPSAC scheme has merit and makes sense. They invented a “housing crisis” and, eyes rolled back in their heads, think they will solve it.

Well, it doesn’t. What this menagerie of bad ideas is going to accomplish is one thing: The ruination of Portland’s neighborhoods by building “the slums of tomorrow,” which many of us are seeing built right now.

Portlanders need to make some noise about this and take back their neighborhoods. Affordable housing is a decent goal, but this gang is using it as a weapon against longtime residents who simply want to maintain the character of their surroundings.

Frank DiMarco

Southeast Portland

Refusal to charge Clinton is no surprise

FBI Director James Comey said he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Surprise, surprise. 

Now honestly, did anyone really expect the results of the investigation would be any different? Really? Who in the world is going to convict their potential future boss? Would you?

Jerry Schneider


Contract Publishing

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