Letters, Nov. 10
The cost of HB 2020
On Oct. 19, Sarah Daley’s letter discusses what HB 2020 might cost the average residential energy user. She cites an increase of 80% in home heating and a gas price of $3 per gallon. In fact, the increase will likely be 8% for home heating and the gasoline price will likely increase about 16 cents per gallon. It could increase over time, but the impact will be reduced by improved efficiencies in cars and the fact that many will be driving plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Further, HB 2020 provides refunds for low-income residents.
Those claiming economic devastation for the state if pricing is imposed have failed to check other states with a price on climate pollution where their economies are equal to or better than those of neighboring states lacking pricing mechanisms.
Opponents of action on global warming appear to favor climate chaos and a compromised future for our children. They claim to accept the science but then use distortions or misinformation to promote their opposition.
If we Oregonians are unwilling to reduce our emissions, we have no credibility in urging others to reduce theirs and display a lack of moral reasoning. Oregon can be a role model!
Stop criminalizing homelessness
We should not be criminalizing the homeless and simultaneously complaining about overcrowding in our jails.
Ashland’s “stop and identify” ordinance was only the latest in a series of actions aimed at criminalizing homelessness. A year ago, the Ashland City Council established a ban on sitting on sidewalks, panhandling and smoking in the downtown area. Around the same time, Medford passed an exclusionary zone ordinance, banning repeat offenders of minor violations (ex: littering, sleeping in public, etc ...) from the downtown area.
Cities in the valley complain about not being able to afford mental health services, addiction recovery services, shelters, and housing assistance — yet we continue to create new and harsher laws against the homeless community and hire more police. Now a proposal to levy $166 million dollars to build a jail is circulating city councils.
We are in an emergency: Nearly 10% of children in Medford’s school district experienced homelessness last year. Families are waiting four years for housing vouchers. Just two weeks ago, a young woman overdosed on our streets while waiting for addiction services.
Have we reached the point where the best solution people are willing to offer to this emergency is more jail beds?
Read between the lines
In the MT editorial arguing for a new jail, some lofty numbers are thrown about. The article says that a new jail would cost $170.3 million (with a time period of 20 year’s bond on your house). Then it states: “ Crime costs Jackson County more than that every year — $171.2 million annually,” and that “Forced early releases to avoid overcrowding in the existing jail cost the county $22.4 million a year.”
In effect, these declarations are saying that Jackson County is spending an extra $193.6 million a year on crime ($171.2+$22.4 million) because we don’t have a big, new jail. There is no comprehensive explanation about these costs to the county, i.e. is it extra police force? Are extra people hired to extradite the revolving door criminals? No explanation whatsoever.
Just scary numbers to make the public scared. Current political times have made that (feeling agitated, scared) a daily situation already. What we need are solutions that make sense. Homeowners can’t take any more cost, especially as the rate goes up each year forever already.
What about going to the federal government and asking for a grant? Or some other solution that is realistic and feasible.