Letters in the Editor's Mailbag
Byline: The Register-Guard
Homeless health rumors are untrue
I am appalled at the volume and tone of rabid letters regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement - such a major lack of compassion and basic respect for humanity, so many using terms such as "bums, druggies, drunks, criminals, professional transients."
But a recent letter claiming that homeless people "carry and spread diseases, such as tuberculosis, infecting untold numbers," crossed the line. It referred to homeless or jobless humans as disease-carrying vermin not worthy of consideration, and worse, as a danger to be avoided.
If such individuals have genuine health care concerns, I hope they are advocating for public health care funding because a homeless, jobless person is not likely to have health insurance coverage.
Now for some facts: Lane County continues to be a low-incidence area for active tuberculosis. The Lane County public health department currently has two individuals being provided tuberculosis nurse case management. Six people have completed treatment for active tuberculosis since October 2010.
All of those with tuberculosis who were of working age were employed. None of the 2010 cases was homeless.
Before we get into a misinformed frenzy, let's look at the mean-spirited stereotypes being dispensed as facts. Imagine how much more productive we could be in finding solutions if we stopped the judgment train and honestly sought ways to help fellow humans in need.
Phone users should obey the law
The Oregon Legislature passed a law that bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, unless it's an emergency or it's for one's job. That law recently changed; now cell phones may be used only for an emergency. And yet, people still use their hand-held cell phones while driving their cars.
Please, people, for safety reasons: Hang up and drive.
Hannah Sayre, age 9
Social services need better funding
In the 1950s through the 1970s, when people's incomes surpassed a certain point that extra income was taxed upwards from 90 percent. Contrast that to current times, when the tax on exceptionally high incomes is only 35 percent.
A person coming from a well-to-do family with their physical needs, emotional wellness and education provided for has a better chance to do well in this world, but our tax system says otherwise. The assumption that we all have a fair shot, regardless of circumstances, is profoundly untrue.
I have been working in human services, and it's getting to the point where we cannot do our jobs. We know what needs to be done; the best practices are there, but the funding is not. People are dying. Those who are in dire need of services cannot gain access to them because the money has been receding slowly over the past 30 years.
During that time, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the income of the top 1 percent went up 275 percent. A coincidence? I think not. Any politician, lobbying firm or think tank that tries to pretend the troubles in our economy and society are outside that imbalance is blowing smoke.
Keep that in mind during the next two election cycles.
People are statistics to Romney
A few months ago, when President Obama proposed helping millions of "underwater" homeowners with their mortgages, Mitt Romney said "the right course is to let markets work" and that Obama should just let things bottom out naturally. That really bothered me. Those mortgages are not just pieces of paper - they are people's homes and hopes, their chance to join the American dream.
Then I read about Romney's callous business dealings in which his company, Bain Capital, raided corporations, took the profitable aspects and declared bankruptcy on the remaining portions of the business, in the process destroying thousands of jobs. …