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Letters to the Editor 9-21-06

A 'yes' vote on bond measure imperative

I urge all citizens to vote in the Nov. 7 election.

It is time once again for Beaverton School District residents to meet the challenge of providing facilities for the overcrowding now present in the schools. A 'yes' vote on the District's $195,000 bond measure will ensure that students will have places where they can continue to receive the excellent education which they deserve and which will enhance the entire community.

The amount of the bond issue seems large, but when each of us does his/her part the burden is very modest: approximately 51 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation. This amounts to approximately $10.63 each per month on a $250,000 home.

The Beaverton school system continues to grow at a rapid rate. Children need and deserve classrooms with a reasonable number of students in them. In most cases more portables are not the answer since the core facilities, such as gyms, cafeterias and libraries, are full to the limit with the existing classes. In addition to new construction, the bond measure will upgrade the educational facilities in many buildings and provide much needed physical facility improvements, such as roofing, heating, ventilation, plumbing, etc.

Vote 'yes.'

GEORGE RUSSELL

Beaverton

Parents of mentally ill afraid to call 9-1-1

As Clackamas County residents and the parents of a mentally ill Washington County adult male we are extremely concerned for his safety.

Luke Glenn's death and continued news reports of police shootings of the mentally ill over the past few years indicate, mentally ill citizens are at great risk from the very authorities sworn to serve and protect all citizen.

Although our son is regularly taking his medications and is being served by a counseling agency he has 'bad days' during which his behavior can be depressive, suicidal, aggressive and frightening to others.

When we have called the crisis line they tell us to call 9-1-1. Now we are afraid to do so. We do not want our son to be killed by law enforcement while acting erratically.

Up to this point we have been fortunate enough to be able to help him de-escalate without calling 9-1-1. Police shootings of the mentally ill is more than a simple law enforcement issue; it is indicative of a much larger societal problem.

The police are not trained adequately enough to help and handle mentally ill citizens. Public agencies for the mentally ill are under-funded and understaffed.

Many mentally ill citizens become homeless due to lack of treatment, financial support and available low-cost housing.

A substantial number of incarcerated Americans are mentally ill, often having committed crimes partly due to their not receiving treatment for their illness.

It is to our collective shame that we as a society provide so little help to those most in need of help.

CLIFF AND PEG HEWLETT

Wilsonville

Another solution to Lukus' situation?

I was and still am deeply saddened by the death yesterday (Sept. 16) of Lukus Glenn, the 18-year-old boy who lived near Tigard.

I had the privilege of being Lukus' teacher for two years while he attended Metzger Elementary School. Lukus was a wonderful student, excellent leader and well liked by everyone. Even after all these years, I still have fond memories of Lukus and the time he spent in my classroom. I doubt Lukus changed all that much to take the path where he ended up being killed by police while in the emotional state of despair described by local news.

I grew up in the same Metzger area. My father was a Portland policeman for many years and retired after serving his 30 years on the police force. I have always been 'pro cop' even when it has cost me friendships. However, in recent years, much of my feelings have changed. I do not understand, and I strongly disagree with, what seems to be the 'new age' police philosophy of first shoot to kill, then ask questions later.

Lukus was 18. He had a knife and was making threats. I understand that is a volatile situation. What I don't understand is how a young man, not so tall or big in stature, with a knife, is scaring - life-threatening scaring - three policemen in bulletproof vests who are larger and stronger than Lukus. I understand no one wants to get cut up or hurt by someone wielding a knife, but wasn't there another way other than killing Lukus?

How about all of the policemen rushing Lukus? How about sending a dog to jump him? How about something as ludicrous as lassoing him like cowboys do in rodeos? All of those might have worked and Lukus would still be alive.

I know the bean bags didn't work. I know the situation was tense. I'm sure the police did try to calm Lukus down. But is the message the police want people to know, 'If bean bags don't work, we'll shoot to kill! So think about that!' That's definitely a frightening thought.

Lukus was 18. He was upset and needed help. He didn't need to be killed. My heart aches for his family. He was an only child. My heart aches for his friends. And my heart aches for the policemen who made the choice to shoot and kill a kid because he was afraid. It is sad that this is what choice often happens in our life, in our society today.

I don't feel this way just because Lukus was in my class. I feel this way because Lukus was young and deserved a chance to get the help he needed. I feel this way because people in our society deserve more help than they often get from more than just the police, but from everyone in their community.

CAROLA STONE ERICSON

Vancouver, Wash.