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Councilman should have skipped vote

Portland city Commissioner Jim Francesconi explained his vote of no on the recent antiwar resolution by saying, 'It brings into question whether some of the local problems that the City Council can impact are really urgent or important if our City Council has the time to debate the foreign policies of the U.S. government, over which the council has no authority' (War vote puts Francesconi on hot seat, Jan. 24).

If Mr. Francesconi thinks that the measure was inappropriate, why did he not abstain from the vote and meeting that concerned itself with the resolution? He could have spent the time focusing on items that he thinks the council should support instead of voting against the call for peace supported by me and tens of thousands of other area citizens.

Michael Rasmussen

Southeast Portland

Young people need

protection, education

Regarding our president's recent National Sanctity of Human Life Day, I have two points.

Each person should have the choice to decide what happens to his or her body. If you do not believe in a woman's right to have an abortion, don't have one. Any woman who does wish to have this procedure deserves to be able to make her own decision.

Second, to those who support abstinence-only sex education for our children, please get your heads out of the sand. Our young people need the most medically accurate information available to protect and educate themselves about life. They say ignorance is bliss, but in this case ignorance Ñ or a lack of accurate information Ñ will just lead to increased teenage pregnancy or the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Teenagers and adults will keep having sex, and not just to procreate; let's not keep anyone from information that may save that person's life.

Please keep abortion safe and legal, and let's all push for medically accurate sex education in our schools.

Albert Kaufman

Northeast Portland

City Council

has lost its way

By rejecting the resolution opposing unilateral war against Iraq, the Portland City Council has become an embarrassment to Portland (War vote puts Francesconi on hot seat, Jan. 24). For too long, Portlanders have patted themselves on the back with regard to our city's reputation as a bastion of progressive policy in an otherwise bleak landscape of American mediocrity.

No more! While nearly 50 cities across the country have denounced President Bush's 'oil war,' Commissioners Jim Francesconi, Randy Leonard and Dan Saltzman have effectively endorsed the unsustainable and murderous policies of the current regime in Washington, D.C.

The City Council has, for years, drifted luxuriously in the comfort of a booming economy, its irresponsibility stretching across the political spectrum, from its unanimous approval of political spying (the Portland FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force) to its stubborn refusal to address the city's draconian treatment of local business.

It is time Portlanders recognize that City Hall has been invaded by formulaic political toadies with fat wallets and no understanding of what Portland is or should become.

Francesconi should be recalled now Ñ and, by May, both Leonard and Saltzman will be ripe for the same treatment.

Alex Harvill

Northeast Portland

Portland deserves better

than aggressive Wallace

'What's the matter with you guys in Portland, anyway?' a friend of mine asked during my recent visit to Tucson, Ariz. 'That Rasheed Wallace,' he went on, 'can't you do anything about this guy and his thuglike antics?'

Wow! Was I mad! To think that Rasheed Wallace is identified by anyone as 'us' in Portland. But, unfortunately, that is the way it is. Our basketball team, or any team in any city, is identified as those of us who live in that city. It is time for Portland to unload this guy. We deserve better.

On my return to Portland, I read the Dwight Jaynes sports column and was blown away by all the people who wrote him in support of Wallace (Wallace watchers weigh in on the latest, Jan. 24). What gives with these people? Do they really believe that the NBA would suspend a player to the tune of $1.26 million without having overwhelming and irrefutable evidence that it was well deserved? Of course not.

It's high time that the supporters of Rasheed Wallace and the Blazer outfit face up to the kind of guy he is.

The Blazers' recent victory without Wallace over the Dallas Mavericks, the team with the best record in the NBA, proves that they don't really need him.

Peter M. Cullen

Southwest Portland