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Pro-neighborhood act is anything but

Let me get this straight: The developers' front group, Oregonians in Action, places an initiative on the May ballot, the dishonestly named 'Neighborhood Preservation Act.' Because this initiative is so destructive, deceptive and poorly written, the Metro Council places an alternative measure on the ballot that actually would preserve existing neighborhoods while also protecting farmland from uncontrolled sprawl and giving taxpayers information about how much they'd have to pay to subsidize new development (Metro offers a different growth measure, Feb. 19).

And Oregonians in Action's 'legal policy adviser,' Dave Hunnicutt, complains that Metro is depriving the voters of a real choice.

Am I missing something? Who really wants to deprive the voters of a choice?

Andrea Gray

Northwest Portland

Middle East analysis offers

stunning conclusions

In the United States in 2002, 'Ignorance is strength' and 'Peace is war.' That was strikingly illustrated by Lt. Lawrence Fink's letter (Credit Israeli military for peace accords, Letters,

Feb. 22).

'Fanatics will always hate the United States, regardless of its political decisions.' What fanatics hated the United States of 1840? Are there any fanatics plotting to blow up any Swiss embassies? All the Islamic nations in the Middle East, including our longest and most trusted allies, have repeatedly said, in the clearest terms, and told us just recently in the Davos Summit held in New York, that the unquestioning support of Israeli expansionism produces hatred of the United States. Lt. Fink does not hear this.

'As long as they (the fanatics) do not possess the means to hurt Americans, who cares?' The suicide bombers' weapons last September belonged to us, let us remember. Lt. Fink has forgotten.

'Using a strong military to pursue militant groups is effective in fighting terrorism.' The entire Israeli society is armed to the teeth; the armed forces engage in avowed policies of assassination of political opponents, using planes and bombs donated by the United States (breaking their sworn promise only to use these weapons in self-defense); and violent Palestinian resistance has only grown. Lt. Fink cannot see this.

Finally, the pice de rŽsistance: 'The reason É Near East countries signed peace accords is entirely due to Israel's military superiority throughout the region.' My comment on this is at the beginning of this letter.

Michael Meo

Northeast Portland

More bicyclists

need to ride responsibly

Thanks for the relative attempt to present a balanced look at bicyclist responsibilities and their rights (Pedaling attorney peddles law to cyclists,

Feb. 19). Too often the articles only focus on their rights and not the responsibilities they need to follow.

But I might ask, what makes you think that bicyclists only run stop signs and red lights downtown? It is something they do everywhere. Not to mention going the wrong way against traffic, weaving in and out of traffic, and crossing ahead of a green light.

Sam Butler

North Portland

Coexistence is impossible

until bicyclists are licensed

Until all riders who move around on busy streets, highways and back roads are licensed to operate their bikes, just as cars are regulated, we'll never be comfortable that cars will safely coexist with responsible riders.

Pell-mell, helter-skelter, zigzagging in and out of lanes of car traffic without signaling or recognition of auto blind spots, these aggressive messengers and ignorant riders who have no idea where they are supposed to ride, and lack common courtesy, terrify the average driver by running red lights, dashing into crosswalks and dashing past vehicles turning left, from behind. This is the rule rather than the exception.

Aren't bikes supposed to operate as if they are cars and wait in line like the rest of us? Passing on the left and right when there isn't ample room to be shooting past this traffic is nerve-racking for drivers.

Respectfully, your article minimizes bikers' irresponsible behavior while romanticizing the notion that bikes and cars can coexist safely. Stop spending money on costly bike lanes until bicyclists in general either police themselves or undergo licensing tests.

Jerry Griffin

Southeast Portland

New millennium should

offer change from yesteryear

In these changing times, not much has changed: The United States espouses 'human rights' yet our jails are full; Congress says Amtrak is a waste of money because of its $26 billion subsidy over the last 31 years (Amtrak girds to roll back service, Feb. 5) and still will fund a failed drug war with spending in excess of $360 billion over the same time period.

And the narco-economy is only getting richer ($1 trillion in 1999) and, lo, surprise! Afghanistan opium is now reaching the West as heroin. And Colombian cocaine is still being sold on our streets. That 700 pounds of British Columbia marijuana (seized last month from a horse trailer) would medicate these addicts, but our government deems it 'illegal' and so jails those persons caught because it is the law. Marijuana is innocuous, and hemp is a renewable viable resource.

The new millennium is so much like the old.

Wesley Ellis

Southeast Portland

Healthy urban forests need

planning, not sensationalism

I read your article regarding urban trees (Urban trees disappearing,

Feb. 12), which had the subheadline 'Environmentalist calls state's land use trade-off a 'fraud.' ' I was upset with your sensationalism. You gave this title to your piece, however, you only gave one quote to that effect, from Candice Guth, former executive director of Alternatives to Growth Oregon. I don't believe Guth thinks that we would be better off without the urban grown boundary, nor that the area would have more trees without it. I'm sure she would argue that the urban growth boundary is the only thing that has prevented the region from looking entirely like a mall parking lot. You should have asked follow-up questions and gone to the root of her statement, 'It's a fraud.'

The type of development that occurs inside the urban growth boundary needs to be addressed. The reason our urban region has no trees is that after people bulldoze the trees and retire the farm for urban development, they don't landscape for a healthy urban forest. The area inside the urban growth boundary could have a completely healthy forest canopy if each property were planted with that goal in mind.

To restore forests in the urban area, we must address the need for tree protection laws, requirements for tree planting in developments and deal with the issues of invasive plant species.

Morgan Will

North Portland