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Don't balance U.S. budget on the hungry

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives, on a party-line vote, broke with tradition by stripping from the farm bill the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). What’s left in the bill is billions of dollars of subsidies mostly for farming conglomerates.

The U.S. Senate passed a much more balanced bill last month. The farm bill sets U.S. agricultural, food and resource conservation policy for the next five years. During the past 18 years, our government has doled out an average of $7 billion per year of taxpayer funds to support the livestock and dairy industries. Instead, their products should be taxed to reimburse state and federal governments for the uncounted billions in increased medical costs and lost productivity associated with their consumption.

Conversely, a sound national nutrition program based on greens, onions, mushrooms, berries, beans and seeds can save additional billions in reduced social costs.

I am in favor of reducing our national deficit, government waste and medical costs. But that’s not going to happen by taking nutritious food from the mouths of 47 million of our society’s least privileged members.

Peter Orwell

Northeast Portland

SNAP is godsend for many who struggle

Like the American Red Cross and Compassion North Portland, the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program is a blessing to many lives. For those who are, unfortunately, struggling for basic needs like food, SNAP is there to provide help in tough times.

One out of five Oregonians receive aid from SNAP, and my friend is among those receiving assistance. She is currently a Mt. Hood Community College full-time student in the Emergency Medical Technician program and is, for the most part, living independently from her parents.

She moved closer to the MHCC campus for convenience and less hassle with transportation. But you can only imagine the expenses of college tuition, books, fees, car insurance, household bills, emergency expenses … the list continues and can be intimidating.

SNAP provides amazing support so people can receive a significant amount of food and continue pursuing a bright future. We are fortunate to have programs like SNAP doing wonderful things in people’s lives.

Clemente Tescahua

Sandy

Disguise Gresham tower as a tree to preserve view

Regarding the question of how to enhance Portland’s emergency communications without marring Walters Hill in Gresham or any other local skyline: Is it not possible to simply identify one or more existing Douglas firs atop area hills and somehow incorporate radio towers into the trees?

Would a tower that looks like a tree, for example, require the blinking red light?

Steve Rice

Southeast Portland