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Friendly man has company

Readers’ Letters

My father, when he was alive, used to say, 'The world has gone to hell in a handbasket,' and 'All youngsters are little (so-and-sos).' Nineteen years after his untimely death, I wish he were alive to read the article about Scott Ginsberg (Making a name for himself, Dec. 31).

This beautiful young man, who doesn't smoke or drink and who raises his hand first to volunteer, wants to communicate and make even the 'jerks' whom you normally wouldn't want to get near 'be friendlier.' Well, Scott, God bless you, and thank you! I am a kindred spirit, at 51 years of age.

My husband says, 'Honey, you never meet a stranger.' That would apply to you now, Scott.

Glad to meet you Ñ I'm Donna Lee Delk.

Donna Lee Delk

Southeast Portland

Baseball idea could

make more rail fans

There's serious talk about bringing a major league baseball team to Portland (Portland at the plate, Jan. 10). I'm not a baseball fan but strongly support this move, for an entirely different reason.

Ever since Portland's light-rail system started transporting thousands of fans to the Rose Garden Arena for Blazer games, major concerts and other events, regionwide support for light rail has soared. You see, during the years many suburbanites have discovered it's a nightmare on game night to drive downtown and look for a parking spot. It's infinitely easier to park the car at a suburban rail station and ride the train in. Even the most entrenched car enthusiasts will concede this point.

Mind you, under normal everyday conditions, these suburbanites wouldn't be caught anywhere near public transportation. But when it comes to the game, well, that's a different story. Suddenly, it's cool to ride the train.

So if we build a new stadium, we'll be bringing suburbanites downtown not only for basketball, but during the months that baseball is in full swing. In other words, we'll have loads of suburbanites downtown year-round.

And suburbanites may very well find their way into downtown stores and restaurants before and after the game Ñ and spend lots of money!

One thing I've suspected from watching 'The Simpsons' is that some people are like Homer in that they seem incapable of thinking ahead and can never get beyond satisfying their base instincts. Yet when he's happy, he has been known to unexpectedly do enlightened things.

Could suburbanites as a group be like Homer Simpson? And if they are, why not give them their major league baseball team (feed their base instinct macho ego needs) and then sit back and marvel as they magically discover the value and logic of light rail and Ñ gasp! Ñ even vote in favor of expanding it?

Sounds like a surefire, win-win deal to me.

John Andersen

Northwest Portland

Consider what we'd lose if measure fails

I am wondering about the citizens who feel they would not benefit from passage of Measure 28. Have they thought about what it would cost them personally to hire people to provide them with the police protection they have, or the fire protection and the parks and trees under public care that provide oxygen and enjoyment?

And I wonder if they will consider repaying today's senior citizens, the taxpaying citizens who provided them with the environment, school buildings, teachers, supplies and security to grow up and enable them to do what they do.

Would they be able to get all those necessities for $5 or $10 a day? I know I would not be able to.

Carol Larson

Northeast Portland

Patriots don't have

to serve in military

I must question the opinion piece 'Freedom isn't a birthright,' by Harvey S. Fink (Dec. 13).

Frankly, I've been hearing hogwash like this all my life. Can Mr. Fink explain what birthrights I have, if not freedom? Maybe he would grant me, and the other Americans who do not 'don a uniform,' some life, liberty, etc.? I wonder what he means when he says: 'We share the same love of country and sense of duty. Freedom is not a birthright. It has to be fought for by each generation.'

With the United States now the only superpower Ñ the richest, most influential nation now and in all of history Ñ does it mean each American generation should assert itself militarily by picking fights over each of the planet's principal resources? He suggests that our youth routinely bloody themselves to determine the 'extent to which one will fight to preserve freedom,' resulting in a 'sort of a debt of honor' and 'sacrifices to their careers and family.'

Oh, don't get me wrong. Laran Ghiglieri's sculpture is magnificent (I know, I have an art background). I embrace the symbol of a strong warrior standing and the principles of duty and honor. However, Fink's narrow view is not very inclusive and sounds quasi-religious.

The path a citizen chooses to exhibit 'love of country' is hers or his to make. It may not be a selective boys' club with industrial backers and enormous federal budget. There may be no orders to follow, no awards of gratitude, no educational, business and political contacts and opportunities. And yet, they will die for their country all the same, without the hazing, 'psychological operations' conditioning, applications, drug tests or screens of any kind.

Yes, there are some who pathetically live and die for themselves. But that is not the preponderance of Americans. I know, because I'm not first generation Ñ but 12th. My grandparents were founders of a colony and the principles of law we live by. They fought in many wars Ñ outnumbered and outgunned Ñ and served this country from Plymouth to San Francisco. And yet, this path was nothing, and I'm new here, too.

Peter J. Bassett

Southwest Portland

No question: Humans

are altering climate

The end of drought conditions is always a relief, and your article 'Drought fears drip away as rain returns' (Jan. 3) brought welcome news. However, I was dismayed to read that some people still question the role of human activity in creating global warming. The scientific debate on the reality and cause of global warming is over: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Environmental Protection Agency agree that global warming is the result of human activity. It's time to look for ways to reduce human contribution to global warming by reducing our use of fossil fuels.

Human use of fossil fuels blankets the planet in carbon dioxide, trapping heat in the atmosphere. This trapped heat raises worldwide temperatures.

Global warming will cause coastline erosion as sea levels rise. It will prevent us from enjoying the outdoors as recreational forests and waters close because of drought. Drought and flooding also will ruin crops in many areas.

The good news is that we have a chance now to prevent the worst of global warming's negative consequences. But we must act. It is vital that we urge our lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to support the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, as much of the developed world already has. This important first step would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, helping slow global warming. The next step is to transition to clean energy sources like solar and wind power. These sources will provide energy without creating global warming.

Melanie Schmidt

Power Shift

Washington, D.C.