Peace is everybodys business

Readers’ Letters

Although I no longer live in Portland, I work and play here, so I'm writing to comment on the Portland City Council's recent decision not to endorse a proposed resolution for peace. More than 40 cities Ñ including San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Ñ have passed resolutions opposing a pre-emptive strike against Iraq. But Portland's resolution failed 2-2 (War vote puts Francesconi on hot seat, Jan. 24).

Commissioner Jim Francesconi explained that he voted against this resolution because he felt it wasn't the city of Portland's place to meddle in foreign policy. How is it not any citizen's business to meddle in foreign policy?

There are pressing needs in Portland, yes, as was pointed out at the meeting. One of the fundamental purposes of the Cities for Peace Campaign, however, is to point out that city and state budgets will be affected. If folks are seeing more of their tax dollars going to fund a war, how will they be able to fork out more for education or social services?

Foreign policy affects us right here and in every other state and city facing huge deficits and monstrous cutbacks.

I urge the council members who voted against to reconsider and sign the resolution. This is how the system works, isn't it? From local to state to national.

It's our country; of course, it's our business.

Cyndi Clifford

Vancouver, Wash.

Big-league baseball

should be low priority

The proposal to build a major league baseball stadium in Portland is too heinous to consider (Portland at the plate, Jan. 10). It is preposterous to accept an estimated $300 million-plus project Ñ purportedly without tax money Ñ while schools in Portland are suffering enormous budget cuts that are limiting resources and activities.

While some decision makers argue that the future revenue of the

stadium would be highly beneficial to the city, the future is hardly what we need to concern ourselves with Ñ it's the present that is suffering.

Officials backing this project must get their priorities in order and think about which is more important, education or baseball.

Priya Bhardwaj

Northwest Portland

War's destruction

would outweigh gains

I send this open letter to my neighbors who marched in the streets of Portland on a recent Saturday and those who watched from the sidelines (Antiwar groups urge city to say no, Jan. 21).

I despair that the U.S. government may needlessly destroy lives and damage the respect the world holds for us as a people.

Among my memories are those of a soldier: the ominous green curve of a Claymore mine, links of ammunition slashing through the breech of an M-60, the dirt-splattered concussion of a mortar round and streaming tracer rounds igniting the darkness. I know the shock of green body bags lying beside a runway tarmac. I have stood in the cemeteries of my enemies, comrades and friends.

War is a hideous prosecution against human beings, their homes and livelihoods. Our brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and those of our so-called enemies are being called to sacrifice.

Whose interests will be satisfied with this savagery? Will a war punish a despicable tyrant and secure oil fields? Perhaps a righteous jihad will avenge the century of Arab people's suffering. Do we still believe that war will make a world free for democracy or banish fear and want? Will we despise those asked to fight in our name? Will we demonize those who dare to stand against us?

Are billions in armaments and legions of dead to be expended in answer to the heinous crimes of Sept. 11, 2001?

Why not renounce the path of destruction?

We could endow our foes with the means to provide schools, hospitals, farm fields, temples, stores and workshops for their people. The destruction of another nation and its people can never bring true peace. Our obligation remains to restrain the president and members of Congress from unleashing the engines of war.

We must try to stand our ground, speak without fear and act with compassion.

John Milliken

Northeast Portland

Almost champ was

a great role model

The article regarding Dick Wagner was a very welcome sight (The champ who wasn't, Jan. 14).ÊDick not only was one of Portland's unknown sports heroes, but he also has left a sports legacy that will be a part of Oregon and Portland sports history.Ê

I spent more than 20 years working in both the amateur boxing program under the Amateur Athletic Union of Oregon, during which time I served as a timekeeper and judge, and also with the Portland Boxing Commission (professional boxing) as a timekeeper, judge and glove man. Dick Wagner was one in a very small group of gentlemen who used his experience as a boxer to teach young men and boys the art and sport of boxing.

Dick was one of the finest coaches I had the pleasure of knowing. His utmost concerns were his boxers' safety and well-being, not just seeking wins. To a large number of young men who grew up in the Southwest Portland area, Dick was not just a coach but a friend, and in quite a few cases, he was the father figure that some boys never had.Ê

When he could, Dick also tried to help some of boxers financially, to make sure that the boys were eating properly or that they got equipment that they needed to participate in the sport.

There were other boxing coaches during that era who went unnoticed, such as Ed Milberger, Chuck Lincoln (brother of pro fighter 'Big Train' Lincoln) and Clyde Quisenberry. Dick took several boys into Eastern Oregon to put on what was then called a 'smoker,' or boxing exhibition.ÊThe community used the proceeds to pay for high school athletics.

Chuck Pierce