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Readers' Letters: Feds, not state, should regulate chemicals

Your recent guest editorial on the use of chemicals in children’s products (State laws must keep kids safe from toxins, Aug. 1) left out the most obvious — and workable — solution: A modernized federal law that would better reassure consumers that children’s products are safe.

Oregon state legislators, like those in many state capitals across the country, continue to struggle with the complexity of creating state programs that list chemicals and establish a science-based approach to reviewing their safe use. Many of these efforts are being driven by incomplete and, in some cases, inaccurate information.

Instead of saddling states with the burden of costly regulatory programs and creating a maze of state laws that regulate chemicals and products, we need a federal law that modernizes our national chemical laws.

For the first time in nearly four decades, senators in Congress from both parties have come together to support legislation that would establish a strong and comprehensive program to regulate chemicals in commerce. The bill is called the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) and provides Congress with a historic opportunity to enhance consumer safety and promote American innovation.

Rather than a state-by-state approach, the best way to give families greater confidence in the safety of chemicals is to urge U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to support a comprehensive federal approach like CSIA that would reassure consumers in Oregon and across the country.

Betsy Earls

Vice President and Counsel

Associated Oregon Industries

Salem

Outsiders are mostly misinformed about MLC

This is a little late after the initial news coverage by the Tribune (School leadership stumbles over race, July 18), but I have read all the comments, and there is a huge misconception about who the families are at the Metropolitan Learning Center.

We are not all rich, nor do we all have mainstream kids without individual education plans. In fact, MLC has a long history and advanced effort in the fairly large population of IEP kids at the school.

My third and last child is now going to second grade there. My first graduated in 2008. I was a single mother making $18,000 when she filled out her portfolio application to enter MLC for fourth grade.

The culture of MLC is not gentrified, nor do the “privileged” students act as if they were born with silver spoons. The five character traits govern the air these students breathe, and when administrators, teachers and even new students try to alter the culture at MLC, they are lovingly held to task.

That is what is happening now. This is not race, this is a cultural value difference. The board and the public should stand off, and let those at MLC figure it out.

You do not change what works. Period.

Angela Goldsmith

North Portland

Back to the drawing board to name arena

In regard to the Moda Center, the name choices should have included “none of the above.” I don’t like naming an arena for a business, and I thought Rose Garden was stupid. Besides, there already was a rose garden in the West Hills.

Barbara Bankes

Southwest Portland

Vocational training just as important

Do we finally realize that skilled labor is equal in value to academics? (Unsinkable Skills, Aug. 15). What person of nonacademic interests has any use for knowing the technical construction of a Shakespearean sonnet? It will only turn him/her off on learning.

Ten years of schooling is plenty for someone who wants to work with his hands, a calling that he/she has a right to — and a need to in order to fulfill himself/herself. It’s high time that we provide vocational schooling on an equal footing with academics.

Rita Traut Kabeto

North Portland

Cruel circus shouldn’t come to town

I am shocked and saddened to learn that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is planning to come to Portland (in September).

Can this be true? With their well-documented, sickening abuses of the animals they force to perform (some of which are endangered species), I can’t imagine who in our animal-loving city would go watch their show.

Far more humane, far more entertaining, and far more fun are human circuses (acrobatics, aerial dance) that don’t use animals at all. I’d much rather support nonprofits that help these incredible, beautiful animals to survive in the wild (World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, International Humane Society, etc.) than go see the unfortunate, captive ones who are mistreated and forced to behave unnaturally.

Marna Herrington

Northwest Portland

Make-A-Wish needs frequent-flier miles

Millions of frequent-flier miles are wasted each year by travelers who let their miles expire. Those airline miles can be used to help grant local children’s wishes through Make-A-Wish Oregon’s Wishes in Flight program.

Every traveler holds the ticket to a child’s wish — a wish like Ellen’s, whose adventure to Hawaii was filled with pleasant surprises, including an up-close encounter with a sea turtle while snorkeling. For an active young lady battling cancer, this trip gave her a chance to have fun and relax with her family.

About 75 percent of the wishes granted by Make-A-Wish in Oregon and Southwest Washington involve traveling — whether it’s to meet a celebrity, go to their favorite theme park, or reconnect with a close friend who moved away. You can be part of a life-affirming wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition by helping Make-A-Wish Oregon raise 8 million miles during the month of August.

Donating airline miles through Make-A-Wish Oregon’s Wishes in Flight is easy — and the miles never expire once they’re in the organization’s account. Help fulfill a child’s dream. To make a donation, visit oregon.wish.org.

Tracey Lam

Make-A-Wish Oregon

Portland