Letters: Abolish the Elector College
Let's cut to the chase. The Democratic presidential candidate won by over 300,000 individual votes. It was the obsolete electoral college system that put Donald Trump in office.
The Russians didn't influence the individual voter as much as it did the so-called intellectual smarter electoral voter, who was bamboozled by the Russians into installing what the history books will record as the worst president in history.
Two hundred years ago, it was a different world with 13 states along the East Coast. The area west of the Allegheny Mountains was still a wilderness of virgin forests and hostile Indians who didn't take kindly to the English invaders. The mode of transportation was by horse, between settlements on dirt roads about five miles apart.
The average settler was trying to clear enough of the virgin forest to grow and there were few vegetables among the huge stumps. Settlers went to town only seldomly, to get a few staples like sugar, coffee or tea and gunpowder for their flintlock muzzle-loaded guns. In that environment, it made sense to have a representative "electoral college" system.
In today's world of communication and transportation, it is time to put the electoral college into the dustbin of history.
What the electoral college has given us is George Bush, Dick Cheney and the Iraq disaster, with thousands of people killed, cities destroyed and a multitude of displaced refugees. A total disaster. Here again, Al Gore received more individual votes.
Consider, too, with all the parsing of the words of the Second Amendment, why is no one talking about the one-shot, flintlock, muzzle-loading guns that were the promise of guarantee to have?
Why isn't the environment relative to what was stated in the amendment?
How about a dose of reality? Weren't guns that were limited to one shot the subject of the Second Amendment? That was the case for almost 100 years. It wasn't until 1879 that a blacksmith, Johnathan Browning, produced a multishot repeating rifle.
The authors of the Constitution would be horrified at the proliferation of multiple-shot guns designed for warfare.
Judge Hunsaker deserves quick confirmation
The U.S. Senate should quickly confirm President Trump's nomination of Washington County Presiding Judge Danielle Hunsaker to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
She has wide bipartisan support, as shown by the recommendation of the Wyden-Merkley screening committee, her earlier state judicial appointment by Gov. Kate Brown, and approval by her colleagues across the political spectrum.
Throughout her career, Judge Hunsaker has exhibited the hallmarks of an outstanding appellate and trial practitioner: a keen mind, stellar academic credentials, excellent writing skills, and persuasive oral argument abilities. A remarkably successful and respected lawyer, she first clerked for three federal judges, but came from humble beginnings with real-world experience.
Having myself been a criminal prosecutor in Oregon for over 40 years, I know the value of judges like Danielle Hunsaker, a woman of impeccable character, fairness and consistently calm demeanor. Most important is her total dedication to America's most hallowed principles of equal justice for all.
Our state and country would be well served by her elevation to the 9th circuit.
Support, don't criticize, ICE officers
Your editorial of Sept. 3, "Lines our government shouldn't cross," omits mention of a third factor in the controversy over ICE agents' activities: You disregarded the interests of citizens in maintaining the sovereignty of our nation and sustaining a livable environment in the United States.
Open borders invite chaos; an orderly society is impossible without immigration controls that are enforced.
Did Andrade Tafolla, who, with the ACLU, is now suing the government for "humiliation," etc., ask ICE agents to show their identification, if none was immediately visible? It's hard to believe the agents had no ID or refused to show it.
Courts are one of the best places for ICE agents to arrest suspected illegal aliens, and safer for all involved. ICE agents by the nature of their work cannot always emblazon their ID on their clothes.
No one in or near a courthouse should feel insulted to be asked for identification, especially now that hundreds of migrants daily are attempting to crash the U.S. borders, with many succeeding. Immigration must be controlled if a nation is to survive.
Support ICE officers; don't harass them.
Elizabeth Van Staaveren
Don't repeal kicker; put money to work
Oregonians' decision in 1980 to refund the kicker represents a deep distrust of government.
Nowhere is this distrust more evident than in politically conservative, rural parts of the state. Progressives believe any revenue surplus should be set aside for the government to use in less prosperous economic times. Conservatives believe that excess tax revenue should be returned to taxpayers; presumably because they do not trust the government to contain its size nor manage revenue fairly.
I suggest a compromise to benefit all Oregonians. A small portion of any state revenue surplus should be set aside in a rainy-day fund — say, 25%. The remainder should be allocated primarily to underserved rural communities, to spend as they see fit. If rural communities knew they would benefit disproportionately from government surplus, they would be more likely to support a repeal of the kicker.
The result would be improved infrastructure and publicly funded programs in rural Oregon, which would improve the quality of life. At the same time, the surplus money put aside in a rainy-day fund would benefit all Oregonians, stabilizing the state's budget in lean years, and avoiding drastic cuts to schools and police forces as occurred in 2003.
Even if the minority of funds were set aside, I, like many liberal Portland voters, would support such a plan to repeal the kicker.
STAR voting could solve urban-rural issues
Despite disagreeing on many key issues (as you point out in your Aug. 29 article "Two Oregons?"), Oregonians of all backgrounds come together in a shared ambition to fix the faulty underlying structures that make our politics divisive, corrupt and ineffectual.
For example, in Lane County, a coalition of multipartisan activists are collecting ballot signatures to repair the broken "choose one" voting system by implementing STAR voting, which would give voters the chance in future elections to vote their full honest opinion without risking throwing away their vote.
These kinds of nonpartisan systemic changes (such as tackling money in politics, gerrymandering and unfair voting systems) benefit Oregonians of all parties and communities, bringing together people who don't normally agree on much.
Uniting to mend our political processes now will allow us to have productive and sane discussions in the future as we decide how to best manage and protect the state we all love.
Go to starvoting.us to find out more.
Don't miss chance to stop Jordan Cove terminal
Oregon may lose its ability to determine its carbon future when it comes to the Jordan Cove fracked gas terminal and pipeline.
The Trump administration issued proposed rules it said were designed to streamline approval of gas pipelines and other energy projects by limiting states' certification authorities under the Clean Water Act. This will be to the detriment of our clean air, water, land and safety.
It is imperative that Oregon take action on the Jordan Cove fracked gas terminal and pipeline now. The terminal and pipeline are so lacking in meeting Oregon's water quality regulations that Oregon DEQ has denied the Jordan Cove water-quality permit, but left the application open to re-submission.
If this project is approved, it would become Oregon's largest carbon source, yet all of the gas would be shipped to Asia by a Canadian company. When the gas arrives at the proposed terminal, it will be cooled to minus-430 degrees Fahrenheit to make it less expensive to ship, while consuming vast amounts of electricity to enable the cooling process.
Fracked gas that goes through the pipeline is methane, a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than burning coal. The pipeline will contain the flammable, explosive gas, at 1,900 PSI of pressure. In the event of a leak with a fire ignition source, incendiary consequences will occur.
Please call on DEQ Director Richard Whitman and Gov. Kate Brown to take a hard look at Jordan Cove, to recognize that this project cannot be completed safely or for the benefit of Oregonians, and to deny the necessary state permits while you still have the power to do so.
Fix the potholes that destroy wheels
My name is Spencer Schloth, I am 16 and a junior in high school. I would like to talk about our road conditions in Southeast Portland.
I noticed recently that there have been lots of potholes on the roads. There are a lot of roads that need to be repaved as well. I have known people in Portland that have destroyed their rims accidently hitting a pothole and having to pay a lot to get new wheels.
I also noticed they just repaved a bunch of roads in Gresham, but in Portland they seem to be ignored. In our neighborhood, the roads are so rough and weathered to the point it's hard to believe that nobody has noticed it.
Overall, I think Portland should put some money into our roads and fix the potholes. I would like to see our roads become smoother to drive on and it would look a lot better as well.
Bulletproof backpacks send wrong message
Sending kids to school with a bulletproof backpack is a sin and a shame.
We are all guilty of child abuse to allow a nation where kids fear going to school where they may be shot.
We need to ask ourselves what sort of country have we become. Why are Americans so afraid of one another? Why are Americans so isolated from one another?
No American is childless. Some just don't live with children, but all of us are responsible for what happens to our children.
To help eliminate the need for bulletproof backpacks, demand that the city of Portland and the state of Oregon tax bullets highly. Other cities, like Buffalo, New York, have such a tax and a reduction in shooting deaths.
Edited up to here
Lawmakers should approve Surprise Medical Bills Act
Until we can find a way to enact a fair and affordable health care system in this country, we need to pressure congress to at least fix some of the glaring problems in the system.
One of these is surprise medical bills. An example would be an insured person schedules an operation with an in-network provider at an in-network facility and one of the team for example an anesthesiologist happens not to be in network and therefore bills at a substantially higher rate.
While the individual is cared for they often face hardship when the bill arrives with the out of network rider.
Senate Bill 1531, The Surprise Medical Bills Act, gives some relief through a process called Independent Dispute Resolution which has been working for the people of New York.
There is a competing bill S. 1895 called The Lower Healthcare Cost Act that using the same customary billing by zip code that has consistently shortchanged lower income districts and rural America.
Let's urge our federal lawmakers to enact the Surprise Medical Bills Act to give us some protection until they are able to institute affordable health care in this country.
Put neighborhood group changes to a city vote
With all the impassioned letters published on the subject of (Portland City Councilor) Chloe Eudaly's proposal to write neighborhood associations out of the city code, the City Council should heed these signs and put such revision proposals on the ballot.
Let the people of Portland decide this issue, not a small group of bureaucrats with questionable self-interests and little transparency.
This would be an exercise in democracy.
Sens. Wyden, Merkley should help fight AIDS crisis
During the past 15 years, we've made immense progress in the global AIDS fight, but the disease remains a deadly crisis. Every day, the AIDS epidemic claims over 2,000 lives.
Now that there's been an agreement on the budget, it's important that Congress sends a clear signal to the world that America intends to continue our historic one-third commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of the most effective and efficient health partnerships on the planet.
Today, the countries most affected by AIDS are contributing more to the fight than ever before. But the battle is far from over and the United States must continue to play a critical leadership role.
Viruses like HIV do not respect borders. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley can help us win the fight against AIDS by supporting America's one-third commitment to the Global Fund ($1.56 billion), which will be used to incentivize billions of dollars in investments from other donors and save millions of innocent lives.
Keep great senators fighting for us
Oregonians are so fortunate to have Sen. Jeff Merkley representing us in the U.S. Senate.
Merkley is running a grassroots campaign, and does not accept donations from corporate PACs, right-wing mega-donors, Big Pharma, Big Oil or corporate polluters.
We all need to remember that the ultra-right has unlimited funds to fight against progressive senators, and we need to support Jeff Merkley's campaign for reelection.
We need to keep great senators in the Senate, fighting for us.
Workers need support beyond Labor Day
Another Labor Day has come and gone, but that doesn't mean our support for workers and unions should dwindle.
In fact, with multiple labor strikes looming, Oregonians need to show their support now more than ever. As a University of Oregon alum, I want to make clear I stand with university employees who are fighting for better working conditions, including a livable wage.
The cost of living in Oregon is rising and university employees are falling further and further behind. The wage increases management has offered are inadequate and disrespectful. We know there is enough money to pay workers fairly and keep tuition down. I believe both should be a priority.
However, university management is choosing to spend new state funding and other revenue elsewhere, such as a raise for management positions and debt-funded construction projects.
There's always a lot of talk about workers' rights on Labor Day. But if we truly believe that everyone deserves a livable wage, we need to keep the conversation going 365 days a year.
New group fights Fascism without violence
In response to Annie Capestany's fine letter about the need for nonviolent action against fascism, racism and white supremacy (Portland Tribune, Sept. 12) there is a new Portland chapter of the nonviolent action group RefuseFascism.org.
Our Call is "For the sake of humanity and the planet, the Trump/Pence Regime must go." And we are working to create sustained, nonviolent, ongoing protests in cities and towns across the United States.
Those interested in standing up for our democracy in the face of increasingly fascist policies of the federal government, information about our events may be found at
Protests should move issues forward
The article on the climate change protests is similar to what many of us did who were involved in the civil rights movements, against the Vietnam War, and Stonewall.
We who were involved in these protests also did things to move forward and change the trajectory of the way things were. I am wondering what are these young people doing to change things besides protest. Are they planting trees? Are they finding ways to cleanup plastic and trash? What ideas are they planning on to help the environment and the climate?
Protests are fine, but to go beyond and actually do what one can do is more important to show one means business beyond words and signs.
Lastly, electric bicycles are here and coming that have up to four people and look like cars but can be plugged into any outlet. Work needs done on new traffic safety rules because many of these vehicles will not fit into the regular bike lanes. This is one idea among many that these protestors can do to lower their carbon output.
It would be nice to have articles as to what our local young people are doing or ideas that they are trying that will lead to changing the environment and help make climate change better.
O'Rourke plan on guns would be foolish
Beto O'Rourke's gun confiscation campaign tactic to force the surrender of 5 million to 10 million semi-automatic rifles is a threat to gun control and a serious danger to the Democrats' 2020 election goals.
I am a life-long Democrat, involved in numerous campaigns and past election lawyer for many Democratic candidates over 25 years. O'Rourke's claim is legally impossible. The 5th Amendment prohibits government confiscation of private property for which the government has no use. The government does not need privately owned firearms. Even if the government could take the guns, the plan would require hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars to compensate the owners, as the 5th Amendment provides.
O'Rourke seeks to confiscate guns which have been lawfully purchased, are not now illegal to possess and have not been used in a crime. Such firearms do not qualify as "contraband." The guns are probably worth $100 each at the very minimum. Congress is not going to appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars to buy guns the government does not need.
This foolish effort serves to prove the NRA's principal argument against gun control: "They will take all our guns!" O'Rourke will only encourage people to go out and buy more weapons; police action will be required to confiscate the guns from unwilling owners; and otherwise law abiding citizens will seek to avoid the law by hiding the guns.
The NRA will mobilize vast numbers of gun owners who feel their constitutional rights are being violated to vote against the Democrats not only for president but also for Congress, defeating the Democrats' plan to recapture the Senate.
Gun control will be set back for decades.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)