Ending a 'disgusting' situation
Disgusting! Every Register-Guard reader who saw the front page May 10, "Trash overwhelms underpass," probably said it. What is truly disgusting is that we, the adequately housed, have allowed this to happen. Even more disgusting: Eugene's Public Works Department spends $200,000 a year to remove trash, and we spend $0 on an emergency shelter.
Not one person in our community should have to endure lack of basic necessities, things that we all use in the first half-hour every morning: We arise from our comfy bed, use the toilet, have a nice cup of coffee, take a quick shower, dress in clean clothes and are ready for the day.
Communities all around the country are coming to grips with a national disaster. Eugene is far behind. And why are we not insisting that enough be done also on the state and federal levels of government to end this completely inhuman situation?
With enough beds for every person, every night, and places to be during the days, there would be an immediate end to all that strikes the eye as "disgusting."
Vehicle fee increase a bad idea
Transportation plans and infrastructure funding have been recent topics on the state and local levels. The May 9 Register-Guard article "Lawmakers unveil transportation package" stated that lawmakers are considering increases to registration fees of $60 to vehicles that get 40 mpg or greater and $20 increases to vehicles that get less than 20 mpg. Their reasoning is that owners of high- efficiency cars are paying less in gas taxes because they use less fuel.
This rationale is sending the wrong message to get vehicle owners into more efficient vehicles. The Oregon Climate Report states 37 percent of carbon emissions comes from transportation and recommends switching to electric vehicles. The Oregon Clean Fuel Standards recommend a reduction in transportation fuels of 10 percent in 19 years, and the Oregon Global Warming Commission has a carbon reduction goal of 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Electric and more efficient vehicles with less carbon-emitting pollution, public transit, bicycling and walking should be encouraged by state and local lawmakers as they look to solve future transportation requirements. The technology is there, and the auto industry needs to switch to this market. Public demand should dictate industry supply with efficient vehicles being more economical for the consumer and better for the environment. The coal industry is seeing its last days as an energy provider - so, too, vehicles that get less than 35 mpg should see their last days as a transportation provider.
SB 2004 hurts landlords, tenants
My husband and I have been small-time landlords in Lane County since 1990. At 70 years of age, we depend on our rental income for the majority of our retirement. Senate Bill 2004 prohibits no-cause 30- to 60-day notice to terminate rental agreements and will cause serious problems to both tenants and landlords.
We give our prospective tenants a chance, if possible. Tenants with a problematic past have trouble finding a rental. If the tenant doesn't work out and we cannot remove a problem tenant without court action, we will rent only to folks with clean rental histories.
Frequently, problem tenants stop paying rent when given a notice to vacate. The longer the law requires us to give notice, the larger the rental deposit must be to cover these failures to pay rent. Now, we require 30- or 60-day deposits; if the notice period is increased to 90 days, we will require a 90-day rent deposit. This hurts the tenants.
A legal eviction is costly: lost rent, repairs, cleaning and court costs. A recent eviction cost us $2,000. It costs the tenant also, because with an eviction on their record, most landlords will not rent to them. The provision that a landlord must pay thousands of dollars for a tenant to move is beyond the pale. Our monthly retirement income would be wiped out by such a payment.
SB 2004 is deeply flawed and will cause harm to both tenants and landlords.
Susan M. Connolly
Voting reform is an intriguing idea
I was inspired by the possibilities inherent in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact as described by Alan Siporin in his May 4 guest viewpoint. In addition to all of the benefits described by Siporin, it was obvious to me that implementing the NPVIC would eliminate the undue influence of the 12 so-called "battleground states" where the "winner-take-all" strategy based on a statewide vote can swing a large number of electoral votes.
Having the NPVIC in place would establish one person, one vote on a national level and force presidential candidates to spend time in Oregon listening to our problems rather than concentrating all of their campaigning in the battleground states. That seems to me the best way to address the concerns of Dave Peck described in his May 8 letter.
Moreover, it occurred to me that the Republicans and Independents in Oregon should embrace the NPVIC because their votes would be pooled with the national vote and not be discarded, as is currently a result of the winner-take-all strategy in a blue state such as Oregon.
If either of these things resonate with you, I urge you to follow Siporin's pleas to contact your Oregon senators and representatives and let your feelings be known.
Congressional bill is wage theft
It is disturbing, but not surprising, that in the midst of the current political circus in Washington, a very dangerous bill has passed the U.S. House largely unnoticed. The Working Families Flexibility Act has the potential to take money out of the pockets of every worker in Lane County and in America.
This bill changes federal overtime law to allow employees the "choice" of declining to accept time and a half for overtime laws in favor of comp time. As we all know, if this bill passes, the "choice" of whether to take compensation will probably be coerced, and would, in all honesty, be more likely to be an employer's choice, rather than an employee's choice. Once an employee has made this "choice," the question of when to take this comp time is left entirely in the hands of the employer, who has 13 months to actually grant the workers their comp time.
Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network is our local chapter of Jobs with Justice. We strongly oppose this act, which takes away the rights of workers to overtime pay, a right they have had for generations. We call on Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to support a filibuster of this bill, should it reach the Senate floor.
Bravo for tax reform proposal
Kudos to Reps. Phil Barnhart and Nancy Nathanson for their tax reform proposal! Their vision of an "investment budget" is urgently needed and long overdue. It is time to ask Oregon businesses to pay their fair share of support for public education, public safety and child welfare programs, not the 85 cents they currently pay for every dollar of state services their receive.
The Register-Guard, in a May 8 editorial, suggested we wait for a better proposal. We respectfully disagree. We refuse to ask Oregon's 570,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students to wait. Without new investments now, services will be cut again to children in need of a quality education. Our children, who are our future workforce, deserve better.
We hope all Oregonians will join us in recognizing the courage of Reps. Barnhart and Nathanson. We also urge all Ore gon legislators to support this revenue reform proposal.