Letters to the editor
Info requested to show city's budget strains
I have a request of The Times and the City of Tigard. At least once a month for the last two years we have been reading an article in The Times regarding the financial challenge the City of Tigard is facing. Each month a different city councilor is quoted. Apparently there is not enough income to support city expenses.
My request is that we get an accounting from the city, reported by The Times, detailing what the challenges to the budget are. What are the areas of expenditure that have created this problem. I do know each year for the last 10 years my property taxes have gone up 3 percent a year as allowed by law. Over 10 years this represents a 34 percent increase. This is beyond the inflation rate by almost 2 percent. Then of course we have many bond measures on our taxes and park costs that were added to our water bill in lieu of adding to our property taxes.
Can we get a pie chart detailing city department costs and accounting of what areas have increased over the last 10 years? Then, can we get an explanation of where the costs have been escalating. My fear is that, like the state, our problem may be rising pension liability costs. Maybe not ... maybe these escalating costs are coming from other areas, but it would be great to get some detail please.
Define our terms when talking of health care
What do we mean when we say health care is a right? Do we mean a negative right? Negative rights require others to abstain from interfering with our actions. A negative right to health care would mean that others would not be allowed to interfere with our voluntary consumption of health care.
Or do we mean a positive right? Positive rights require others to provide us with goods or services. A positive right to health care could mean we have a right to consume health care from a provider under a voluntary agreement. For example, we could pay a monthly fee to a direct primary care provider that gives us the right to certain goods and services.
A positive right to health care could also mean that we have a right to consume health care regardless of the willingness of the provider. This would be a positive right derived from coercion.
Again, what do we mean when we say health care is a right? Given that we already have both a negative right to health care (although you could argue some interference from regulation) and a positive right when derived from voluntary agreements, we must mean a positive right derived from coercion.
Aside from the problem of coercion, a positive right to health care has the problem of scarcity. How can we have a positive right to goods and services subject to scarcity? What good is a right to health care if we have to wait months or years to see a provider?
We want everyone to have access to quality health care that they can afford, but a positive right to health care is meaningless. We've already conflated health insurance with health care to the detriment of health care. Let's not conflate goals with rights, too.
Transportation plan is way too much for Oregon
The article in The Times ("Transportation plan unveiled in Legislature," May 11) concerning the Legislature and their transportation plan is to increase:
n Gas taxes from $.28 to $.44 and
n "Tiered" increases in vehicle title and registration fees. Oh, and even higher for fuel efficient cars.
n A STATEWIDE payroll tax — not just in the greater metro area, but they want to tax every wage-earner in the state to fund roads and bridges in the Portland metro area.
n Tolls — on our roads and bridges (to be determined by our representatives)
n Bicycle Excise Tax — a sales tax on bicycles
n Dealer Privilege Tax — a sales tax on vehicles
The State says they are $1.8 billion in the hole for the next two years and must find ways to cover their PERS disaster, which is included in the $1.8 billion. The State of Oregon is set to receive $1 billion in new revenues for the next two years, however that still leaves them in the hole $1.8 billion.
With this dream of $800,000,000.00 per year in new taxes, fees, tolls (which Oregon hasn't had in many years) they now want to increase our taxes by
n $1,800,000,000.00 for their "deficit" and
n $800,000,000.00 for 2018
n $800,000,000.00 in 2019.
n $3,400,000,000.00 total new taxes, fees and tolls over the next two years.
This does not account for any of their other bills which may add new taxes, etc.
The Times quoted Tina Kotek: "We are running the most transparent transportation process I think this building has ever seen, so now it's time for public input," said House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland. "We still have plenty of time to work out the details."
The details are in the BILLIONS.
Take care of speed bumps on our streets
In our area, there are a lot of speed bumps. Because of traffic, the paint tends to get worn off the bumps. Even though there are yellow diamond warning signs, if you don't know the area and where the speed bumps are, they can catch you off guard when you go over them.
This is especially the case at night. In my family, even though we are familiar with the area and are anticipating the speed bumps, because of the worn-off paint we can misjudge the location of the bumps.
When people drive over the speed bumps too fast, the bumps can be damaged and the paint chipped off even more. Additionally, cars may be damaged and passengers may be hurt.
I think this is something our community could do to improve safety. Especially since it is likely to become worse if we leave this problem alone.
Fine print on lottery machines deceptive
For our company party I was elected to get some Oregon Lottery scratch-it tickets for door prizes, $40 worth of the $5 garden variety. I was requested to get a specific ticket — the Monopoly game scratch-it tickets.
I put the $40 in the machine and proceeded to purchase eight of these $5 tickets. Much to my chagrin, the self-service Oregon Lottery machine made a noise, no ticket was dispensed, and the cost of the ticket in the window that once said
$5 now showed a straight line.
When I inquired with the store I was told the machine was out of that type of ticket. I asked them how would I know this because at the time of purchase it showed the tickets were available and ready to purchase. I was told you don't know until you go to select the ticket, then it tells you when you see the straight line they are out of that game, after your money is already in the machine.
I just shook my head and said fine, just give me my $40 back, and I will buy them somewhere else. The nice store clerk then explained to me: In the self-service lottery machines, there is no cash refunds. Once you put your money in the machines you can't get it back per the fine print on the machine.
So I was forced to purchase $40 of something I didn't want, and couldn't get my money back, and then I can't return the unused scratch-it tickets? How is any of this fair? Where in the world can you not get your money back for something you purchased that you didn't want?
The Oregon Lottery is barely better than criminal activity, and this is just one minor example.