July 30th, 2008 WW's Beloved Readers | Letters to the Editor
 

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THE MILITARY IS A COMMITMENT, NOT A TEA PARTY
I almost fell out of my chair when I read about the so-called “activists” wanting to turn Portland into a “sanctuary city” [“A Separate Peace,” WW, July 23, 2008]. Where are all these nuts coming from? Is there a sign outside the city limits begging the weird and naive to move here? As the daughter, sister, wife and mom of U.S. Military officers, I am horrified that this movement would merit space in a newspaper. Do these people know that our military is ALL volunteer? That no one forced those serving to join up or to re-up?

They signed an agreement and took an oath! Doesn’t that mean anything anymore? The military exists to wage war! To fight and defend. It is not the Junior Prom Committee or the Junior League Tea Party! The military uses guns and bombs and warplanes. EVERYONE knows this except the activists you quote. Where do they think they get their freedoms? Every freedom we enjoy in this country has come from the sacrifice and blood of the military. For this group to seek to provide a safe haven for deserters and cowards is a disgrace. If you don’t want to become a warrior, then don’t enlist. BUT, if you enlist you must honor your commitment to the military and to your fellow Americans, who paid you and provided you with training and skills. What a no-brainer. When liberal Canada doesn’t want our deserters you’d think the sanctuary city idea would be a moot point.

Mary Kit Hogan
Southwest Cedar Street

MORE TO THE POVERTY STORY
Portland cannot be a great city unless it does something about poverty. When people who could be contributing to the economy are un- or underemployed, we are wasting a key resource and burdening taxpayers.

Portland’s Economic Opportunity Initiative (“the Initiative”) is a nationally recognized program, serving about 2,700 people. It funds 33 projects, operated by local nonprofits, to reduce poverty by increasing the incomes of adults and youth who face big hurdles to getting or keeping a job (or running a very small business). Because real change takes time, projects support participants in their efforts for three years. A project succeeds if a pre-determined number of its participants meet specific income and advancement or educational goals.

The Initiative works: wages or revenues of Initiative graduates have increased by at least 25 percent (most earn far more), putting them on their way towards an income covering the actual cost of rent, groceries, etc.

WW’s reporting [“Pour-tland,” July 16, 2008] missed this story. Instead, it focused on one project on probation because of weak third-quarter results. If its results do not improve, the project will end. (Already, due to joint City/nonprofit efforts, fourth-quarter results were much better.)

Legitimate concern about one project’s performance shouldn’t distract us from the lesson of the Initiative: our City can beat poverty through focused training and support. Not every person or every project will be successful. But experience shows that the majority will succeed, through their own hard work and their project’s support, strengthening our community and saving taxpayers a bundle.

Lynn Knox
Economic Opportunity Program Manager
Portland Bureau of Housing & Community Development

NUTRITION FACTS ARE A TOOL: USE THEM
Commissioner [Jeff] Cogen and the Multnomah County Commission are doing a service to county residents by proposing calorie counts on chain restaurant menus [“Food Fight,” WW, July 16, 2008].

Consumers have a right to clear nutrition information at the point of decision-making to aid in managing their weight. How else can we know how much a cheeseburger or a large fries will affect our waistlines?

In a recent poll, about 70 percent of county residents were in favor of calorie counts on menus. The proposed order has been endorsed by a diverse group of health organizations such as the American Heart Association, Community Health Partnership, and American Diabetes Association. The County Commission can rest assured that they are doing the right thing for the public’s health.

Contrary to the claims of the restaurant association, there is solid and growing scientific evidence to support nutrition labeling. One recent study from New York showed that consumers that saw calorie counts ordered an average 50 calories less per meal than consumers that didn’t see the information. This is one policy that the public wants, doesn’t cost much money, and is a powerful tool for addressing obesity.

Mel Rader, Upstream Public Health
Chair of the Oregon Nutrition Policy Alliance, Workgroup on Nutrition Labeling

SUPER-FOOD GOODNESS!
Great article on Robert [Cheeke] [“Lean, Mean, Meat-Free Machine,” WW, July 16, 2008]! He works so hard he deserves the recognition.

But I do disagree with your evaluation of the Vega Smoothie Infusion. If you follow the suggested directions, and make it in a blender with fruit and other vegan liquids (I use Talking Rain carbonated water, a couple of ice cubes, a banana and raspberries) it is quite tasty and full of whole super food goodness!

Jill Schatz
via wweek.com


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