Our readers' views
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The better mass transit isn’t light rail
Michael Ennis is correct in his March 13 opinion, “Don’t allow tolls to be used to support light rail on bridge.” What the proponents of light rail are too often failing to mention is that if light rail is brought in to Clark County, the bus routes into Portland will be eliminated. There is no way that you can financially support both.
The bus system is far more flexible, can use existing infrastructure and will have less operating costs. Since the feds have stated that they will not contribute any monies to this project unless light rail is added, we need to seriously consider where this project is headed. The city of Portland and the state of Oregon will not be making the necessary changes to their antiquated four-lane highway through downtown Portland, any time soon. Thus, in a very short time after completion of the bridge, the back up will just be transferred a few miles south.
In regards to an addition to the sales tax to fund the operations, we should make that contingent upon a commensurate increase in the Oregon state income tax for Oregon residents.
Assurance of privacy earns trust
Invasion of teen privacy is uncalled for and, in some cases, can be avoided. When facing conflicts such as harassment and bullying, there are many ways to deal with the issues without invading privacy of the person accused. As a student myself, I believe it benefits the students and helps them gain trust in the student body and the staff knowing that their personal belongings won’t be intruded upon.
In situations where someone is being harassed over e-mail or texts, it should be encouraged to take other actions. Victims could save or print the messages, instead of making it necessary to search the “bully’s” phone or computer.
In places like Kelso High School, where invasion of privacy is being considered as a way of retrieving evidence, anyone accused of harassment is at risk of authorities’ observing their private conversations, pictures, phone records or anything else available.
Some things shouldn’t be made public, and sometimes even searching through confidential information can’t reveal a crime.
Less and less in retirement checks
I am in complete agreement with Robert J. DiVincenzo’s March 15 letter, “Net loss is significant.” My husband is retired military and I am a retired Department of Defense employee (lower grade). We both have had our retirement monies reduced because of “increase in taxes.” We live on a fixed income, and this reduction puts a bite on our budget. Add that to the upcoming “Obamacare” reductions, and it really hurts.
It seems every time the current White House occupant gives a speech, we Americans lose more freedoms or money; either in the form of higher taxes or higher costs for food, clothing, fuel, etc. Please, no more speeches.
Spend spare time helping others
Here’s an idea for the person or people who are wasting money by egging homes in the Burton area. How about spending your egg money on food for the hungry people in the community rather than throwing eggs against other people’s homes?
Actually, it could turn out to be more satisfying entertainment than “egging” in the long run. As a matter of fact, why not talk it over with your parents to see if they agree? Just something to think about.
Energy solution: Drill our own oil
A few years ago there was a comic strip featuring a character famous for his statement: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” During the Nixon administration, while waiting in long gas lines on my even-numbered day, I was naïve enough to believe we would drill for some of our own oil and not depend on the Arabian oil cartel.
Why don’t we drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska? The caribou are multiplying at a much greater rate than prior to the Alaskan pipe line. The oil spill in the Gulf occurred at the only deep well in the whole area but we had to stop all drilling there while the Cubans and Chinese take our oil.
For years we have shied away from nuclear power on the pretense that we had no disposal area for the spent fuel rods. Strange, France gets 70 percent of her energy from nuclear but has anyone asked her what she does with her spent rods? No, that would require common sense and logic and they died years ago.
Drill, baby, drill …
Clean air policy is not a certainty
As pointed out in a recent editorial, the Sierra Club has been trying to shut down the TransAlta coal plant in Centralia for years. The Sierra Club was making so much noise that the company finally came to the bargaining table. Now there is a deal to seems to satisfy the company, environmentalists, the union and the community. The company will spend $55 million to help the workers and the community, and will shut down half of the plant by 2020 and the other half by 2025.
The Sierra Club would have liked an earlier shutdown but gave that up for the certainty of ultimate closure.
The union also wins monetary concessions from the company. The company rids itself of an aging power plant.
This looks like a win-win-win scenario but it is still not certain. The state Senate has passed a bill codifying these changes but the House has not yet taken action. The fate of clean air and a fair settlement with the plant’s workers rests in the state House. Cross your fingers and hope they do the right thing.
Look at health care salaries, too
Many economists have pronounced that public employees’ pay and benefits have pushed government spending out of control.
Why hasn’t such a simple and obvious solution been used to reduce health care spending?
If teachers’ pay and benefits are a primary cause of the red ink staining so many state budgets, surely nurses’ pay and benefits are a primary cause of escalating health care costs.