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Letters: Paying for sick days is just good business

I appreciated reading about the campaign for earned sick days (Activists sick of working while sick, Oct. 10). As a former Multnomah County commissioner and now a small business owner, I know from both the public health and employer perspective how much sense a citywide paid sick days ordinance makes.

Our construction company renovates existing homes with a special focus on home performance energy retrofits in the Portland area. We care deeply about thriving neighborhoods, the economic health and well-being of the families in our homes, and the vitality of our environment.

So, of course, we care about the people who work for us, too — they’re part of the Albina Construction family. They earn paid sick time so they have the time they need to recover when they get sick or when they have a sick child who needs their care.

Life happens, and it feels right to support our employees when it does. Plus, when workers are treated well, they tend to return the favor by doing a good job for us — and our customers. And that’s good for business.

Serena Cruz Walsh

Co-owner, Albina Construction LLC

Northeast Portland

Sick days cost some people a lot

I was so glad to read your article last week about the city looking at the issue of paid sick time (Activists sick of working while sick, Oct. 10). It affects so many Portlanders.

Where I work, I only get paid sick leave after I’ve already been out sick for three days. As a result, if I get sick, I take medications to mask the symptoms — and I go to work sick.

It’s hard to get better this way, but I can’t afford to lose a day’s wages. And where I work, lots of people come to work sick because they can’t afford to stay home. There are single parents and families who can’t afford food if they miss a day’s wages.

This isn’t right. Everyone needs to be able to take paid sick leave when they’re sick — on the first day they’re sick.

Avery Leinova

Southeast Portland

Keep Benson strong for the future

I lived near Grant High School but bicycled to Benson, graduating in 1947 (Benson students cash in on job skills, Oct. 4). It led me to an engineering career working for Hughes Aircraft Co. for 37 years.

The dedication of the teachers was outstanding.

Having just attended the 65th reunion of my class, I renewed acquaintances with men who all felt Benson was critical to their life careers.

I live in Los Angeles and don’t know the politics which are at work seemingly to reduce the important impact of Benson.

I hope Benson is allowed to thrive in the future.

Richard Greenblatt

Los Angeles

Renters misunderstand bond’s real cost

I drove a cab here in Portland and the outlying areas for 13 years. I asked my passengers just prior to an election that included a bond measure if they owned or rented their dwelling. If they answered “rent,” I would then ask if they pay property taxes.

And of the hundreds — yes hundreds — that I have asked during the years, not one of them realized they do in fact pay property taxes in their rent or lease fee.

If the Portland Public Schools bond measure passes in this November election, more than likely rents will increase. When a landlord is faced with higher property taxes, then their renters will undoubtedly be faced with higher rents. Simple as that.

Voting “no” on this school bond measure will send a message that we — all renters and owners — just cannot afford this largest bond measure in history.

John Lee

Northeast Portland

Widen Portland’s plastic bag ban

For the past several weeks I have been canvassing door-to-door throughout Portland, five nights a week on the campaign to expand Portland’s ban on plastic bags (Expand plastic bag ban? Oct. 8).

I talk to about 40 people a night and the overwhelming majority is in favor of making our bag-ban here in Portland more comprehensive.

The most common objections I’ve heard have been, “What am I going to use to pick up my dog poop with?” and “What am I going to use to line my garbage bins with?”

My answer to that is that at some point we have to be willing to accept a certain amount of inconvenience in our lives if we are ever going to move forward toward a more sustainable society.

Thirty or 40 years ago, we did not have these plastic bags and we got along just fine. Now we are using more than 1.7 billion plastic bags a year in Oregon. Portland, being the largest city in Oregon, is a leader for the rest of the state.

I urge the City Council take action now to protect our rivers, streams and the Pacific from plastic pollution by eliminating as many plastic bag options as possible.

Rob Cochran

Southeast Portland