As a huge Portland Fire fan and season-ticket holder, I was very disappointed when I found out we no longer had a professional women's basketball team (Blazers put out the Fire; local bidder dismayed, Jan. 31). My kids and the neighborhood kids we took to games were crushed; one little girl even cried.

I really liked the family atmosphere of the games and the work ethic of the women on the court. I thought it was really important for my kids to see (especially my 11-year-old daughter) that if you work hard enough you can do anything you want Ñ even play basketball for a living.

And I'm especially disappointed that Portland Trail Blazer management would not work with Clyde Drexler and his partner to keep the team in Portland. Having Clyde back would have brought class and grace back to Portland basketball.

My husband became disenchanted with the Blazers last season, and now I can see why. Even though they are on a winning streak, I do not care, because frankly the players and management do not care about the fans.

I received an offer from Blazer management for free tickets to a Blazer game. I suppose it was to make up for the fact that the Fire is no longer around. I definitely will turn them down. Why should the community support a team that does not want to support our community?

Adrienne Howard


Elderly, disabled should get priority

I can't believe what I read in your newspaper.

Why do AIDS patients think they are entitled to thousands of dollars a month in medication paid for by the state (Difficulties, even death, stalk needy, Feb. 4)? The elderly and disabled are getting their benefits taken from them, and it does not amount to nearly that much. We have to pay for our HMOs, plus a monthly bill, and do not even get our prescriptions paid for.

We are going overboard for the drug abusers, AIDS patients, alcoholics and persons who smoke for years by their own choice. I think our government should take a better look at where their help is going, and stop helping those who have not tried to help themselves by living clean lives.

Shirley Hudnut

Northeast Portland

Portland has many close ties to Italy

I read with interest the article about Bologna becoming a sister city to Portland (Bologna's the buzzword for our next sister city, Insight, Jan. 24). The article mentioned the large American-Italian population of Portland.

What it failed to mention was all the Italian citizens Ñ mostly young professionals Ñ who have made Portland their home and who are still very attached to their native country. Guest writer George Passadore should remember us, too, as part of the 'large population' of Italians helping Portland become better and better each day.

Cinzia Corio-Holman

Northeast Portland

Bush administration hides its data, motives

It is difficult to imagine that the Oregon Republican Party's executive director, Darryl Howard, was able to keep a straight face when he said of President Bush's threats against Iraq: 'When the public learns everything he knows, they will agree that he is using good judgment' (Antiwar drums pound, Jan. 17).

The current conservative regime is obsessed with secrecy. One of the first things Bush did in office was to extend the length of time that the papers of Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. would be excluded from the Freedom of Information Act, thereby keeping this information hidden from the public for years to come.

We also have a U.S. attorney general who has ordered all government agencies not to divulge any information when they can find any legal reason not to do so.

Vice President Cheney has adamantly refused to divulge who attended the meetings that led to the national energy policies, much less tell us what ideas the participants contributed.

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (the USA Patriot Act) forcibly forbids book dealers and librarians from revealing whether customers are being investigated by the federal government. Bush himself refuses to reveal to the U.N. weapons inspectors any information he may have regarding the locations of weapons being held by Iraq.

Only when the officials of this secret government are hauled into court and forced to reveal information will we learn what is going on. These secretive conservatives don't want people to find out what they are doing.

When 'the public learns everything he (Bush) knows' will be the day hell freezes over.

David Schact


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