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Letters: Don't believe all the hype about cars

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Readers also weigh in on tougher GED requirements and the Republican health care plan.

The April 25 My View by John Charles, "Nothing wrong with promoting cars" and in the business section, Jim Redden's "Ready or not, autonomous vehicles are coming," were both printed alongside photos of ubiquitous freeway traffic congestion.

"Nothing wrong with promoting cars" says car manufacturers and dealers, financiers and insurance companies, fuel suppliers and parking garage moguls, media advertisers, road construction and suburban home builders see no problem with inherent car dependency.

Nothing wrong said the "advanced alien civilization" featured in the movie "Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius" who were so advanced that their scientists devised a means for the entire race to devolve into amoebic blobs so they could live 24-7 in their cars, though they lost any sense of empathy in the process. They believed humans were so inferior, we could be sacrificed to their spiritual icon — a giant, man-eating, three-headed chicken — not unlike our ancient Roman practice of feeding Christians to lions.

There's a lot that's wrong with promoting cars, especially the entirely ridiculous self-driving type promoted by the same car-dependent interests. But realizing this truth may come too late. In the movie, the advanced alien civilization's planet exploded when their technologically empowered military, in a misdirection of power, misfired and hit the wrong target. Will our planet suffer a similar fate? Are we even now devolving into heartless amoebic blobs living in our cars? Are people who believe the self-driving car hype superior or wrongfully misled?

Art Lewellan

Pearl District

Don't blame Londer for GED grad drop

The Tribune missed an opportunity to point out a low blow by Multnomah County in the May 4 article "Londer Learning Center faces chopping block." A piece by the Tribune on April 16, 2015, reported "a drop of 77.6 percent from 2012" of the number of GED graduates across the state, with the national average being even worse. That's because the GED test changed in 2014, becoming more difficult and decreasing the number of grads in every single GED program in the United States.

So for Multnomah County to propose closing a GED program like Londer Learning Center because "the number (of grads) has dropped from more than 80 earning a degree in a typical year to less than 30" is blaming Londer for the change to the GED test.

If the government is defunding education programs because GED graduation rates are dropping, then why don't we hear about cuts to Portland Community College? Now that the high school dropout rate is at an all-time low, and the GED test is harder than ever, is this really the time to abandon those trying to gain an education? Where are Multnomah County's priorities?

The Tribune also failed to mention that Londer has additional programming beyond the GED, making it sound like the county spent $600,000 for 30 GED graduates. Londer also serves students learning basic literacy, math and job-seeking skills. They assist students in obtaining National Career Readiness Certificates, construction math, basic computer applications and programming. Londer Learning Center meets a community need for GED and job readiness skills.

Sam Bryan

Aloha

What kind of country have we become?

Thank you, Tim Gillespie (May 4 letter). You are totally right — our president's tax returns are extremely important, and I am continually amazed at how citizens seem to think of them as a "non-issue."

There are so many jaw-dropping violations regarding this president we seem to shrug our shoulders about. It seems as if we have lowered the moral bar to an all-time low. Are we setting a precedent here for future leaders?

As concerned citizens who love and respect our country, it is time we demanded restored ethics and morals. If not we will rapidly start to resemble a Third World country run by corrupt leaders. Indeed already other civilized countries in the world are baffled and amazed.

Come on, America, this is not the country we want to be identified as. Bring back our pride, honesty, compassion and clear transparency.

Elizabeth Aurilia

Milwaukie

The GOP's inferior health care plan

As a small business owner, I am disappointed by the House's passage of the American Health Care Act, the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA has been crucial to helping small business owners like me gain access to more comprehensive and affordable health coverage. Under the ACA, rates in the small group market are finally starting to stabilize, and many small businesses have been able to receive tax credits for providing coverage.

Additionally, the law has helped many would-be entrepreneurs, especially those with pre-existing conditions, break out and start their own business without the fear of being unable to access affordable health coverage.

It should come as no surprise then that polling from Small Business Majority found nearly 6 in 10 small businesses owners support the ACA, and prefer it to the replacement plan by a 2:1 ratio.

The House's vote shows many lawmakers are ignoring the fact that the ACA is good for small business. Pushing forward with a subpar replacement plan is the wrong move for our country, our small business community, and the countless entrepreneurs and employees who have gained coverage under the ACA.

Mike Roach

Southwest Portland