Letters: 'Freedoms' not always good for workers
Recent viewpoints published in The Tribune, from the Freedom Foundation and the Cascade Policy Institute, regarding the "freedom" to avoid paying union dues in a union workplace lack balance.
If that "freedom" has the hoped-for effect of reducing the negotiating power of unions or eliminating them altogether, it would include the freedoms of working for lower wages, more expensive health care, weaker workplace safety requirements, and worse retirement packages.
Perhaps even better for the wealthy individuals and corporations funding these anti-union sentiments, a good slice of the funding promoting progressive candidates and principles would disappear.
RIP fails to accomplish real change
Let's be clear. Whatever form the final Residential Infill Project takes, it will result in three types of properties:
1. The McMansion with an ADU or two.
2. The investor-owned building with three or more rental units.
3. A very small condominium arrangement.
The McMansion will still be with us. The city's proposed 2,500-square-foot maximum does not include a "free" basement. So, it's really 3,750 square feet. Plus a detached ADU for another 800 square feet. And it's likely the Planning and Sustainability Commission will yield to developers to make these numbers bigger still.
The investor-owned building will bring no difference here than what renters face now — the landlord's right to charge market rate for the units. Any affordable units will be pegged at 80 percent of median family income. That's $60,000 for a family of four.
And the small condominium building? I've lived in a 12-unit condo building and could not wait to get out. Imagine a condo with three or four members. If one owner falls in arrears with payments, other owners are left making up the shortfall.
Tax filings, maintenance agreements, paying bills, insurance, meetings about hallway carpet, changing light bulbs (who has that ladder?), what color to repaint, what contractor to select, building security, capital reserves, common element disputes, (why should I pay for your portion of the roof?).
Oh yeah, more meetings.
Don't forget that disruptive co-owner in the other unit. Who deals with that?
The developer's ridiculously low HOA dues at sale time are a pipe dream.
And on and on.
Granted, the financial gains might be significant enough so you get out and buy that single-family house. If there are any left.
Homeless need more than just shelters
Regarding your July 10 editorial, "Visible solution needed for homelessness."
After all that's been written about homelessness in Portland, our officials still appear clueless to address it other than with more shelters.
Responses to the homeless plight continue to be inconsistent when they should be following a comprehensive approach. Yes, more shelters are needed, but that's not enough. Sheltering needs to be holistic and provide service referrals (including health care, counseling, training, etc.).
The homeless should not be allowed to scatter willy-nilly on side streets, under bridges, in public parks, or in business doorways, as now occurs. Besides visual and safety concerns, these locations become garbage dumps and are often rat-infested.
But instead of chasing homeless campers away after a certain number of complaints are filed, the city and county could designate specific vacant areas for temporary and safe tent grounds and RV parking locations, with homeless campers encouraged to locate to these sites.
Public and private partnerships can work together to provide portable washroom facilities and essential services and supervision. Other jurisdictions are doing this now; why not here?
Once shelters are provided, you cannot just jump into affordable housing. You need intermediate steps including transitional housing, mental health care, jobs training, etc. This is where the partnerships can really accomplish the most good. Get the faith-based groups, PCC and MHCC involved.
Mayor Ted Wheeler has indicated homelessness is a regional problem. So how come our elected officials and social service agencies in the region are having such a difficult time cooperating on this issue? Granted, homelessness will not be eradicated by such efforts. However, until homeless camping is controlled, the loose way it is addressed now only serves as a draw for other homeless campers to locate here.
So, what's it going to be?
It's too easy to get into the United States
A My View by Elizabeth Van Staaveren ("Immigrants the cause of many ills," June 14) was quite interesting and with well-stated views about her position on immigration issues.
I think that a lot of the problems could be solved by adopting the same immigration policies that are expressed by the Mexican consuls.
As one who has applied and received a residence visa and passport from Mexico, it is apparent to me that the United States is much, much too easy on immigration entry. On my letter from the Consulado De Mexico, they outline the following requirements: completed application; valid passport; two passport-size photos (without glasses); a notarized letter of good conduct from the Oregon State Police and one photo copy; a letter from your bank stating how long you have been doing business with them, the different kinds of accounts you have and your monthly deposits, please bring bank statements; minimum monthly earnings of $1,000 (several years ago, so must be much higher now) and $500 for each additional dependent. You are not permitted to engage in any remunerative activity (if a Mexican national can do the job, you cannot); if you drive a car into the country, you drive it out and not take an airplane.
Moreover, there is a fee structure that must be in cash, money order or cashier's check.
Bringing in electronic and other equipment is highly regulated and customs taxes are quite strict and expensive.
Controls of immigration would appear to have to have a positive side effect in the rental market. Apartments would see an increase in vacancy rates and the laws of supply and demand would tend to force the price of rental housing to be reduced.
Don't limit traffic, limit population
We moved out of the Portland area over 10 years ago and the article on the front page of the Portland Tribune on June 28 ("Interstate 5, Abernethy Bridge tolling recommended") is even more reason to move to the right side of the state.
Most, if not all, of the article on the "tolls" makes as much sense as roping a cat to heard cattle. I will say that the only way for a toll to be equitable is to put a toll on all "freeway" onramps in the area. This will greatly reduce the "ramp" hopping, common today, and put local traffic back on city streets where it belongs.
Unfortunately, Portland has done away with a lot of traffic lanes on city streets and therefore has greatly contributed to the traffic problem.
I do not know most of the folks listed as being on the "committee," and I am glad that I do not. If these are "learned" people on the committee, I really had much rather remain "stupid." In case you don't get it, this is all about controlling your "freedom" of movement.
We moved to Spokane, Washington, in 2007 and at that time rush-hour traffic, sometimes, slowed way down to 45 mph. Today rush-hour traffic traffic, in Spokane is stop and go, a mere 11 years later. Instead of limiting traffic why don't we address the real problem: population?
Otis Orchards, Washington