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Governor rejected more than just casino-backed baseball

Oregonians have discovered what our governor thinks of our economic and social welfare.

Oregon has one of the highest unemployment rates in America. You would think that when the state is facing a school financing crunch, people are dying because those on medical disabilities cannot afford essential prescriptions and the tax structure is prompting businesses to consider moving across the river, Gov. Ted Kulongoski would want to think outside the box to solve our challenges.

There was more than a baseball park on the line with Kulongoski's decision to prevent the Grand Ronde tribe from building a casino in downtown Portland, which the tribe wanted to do in exchange for offering $350 million to finance a major league stadium. Kulongoski made it known to Oregonians how much he really cares about children who attend public schools. He showed how much empathy he has for the labor unions across the state, because the jobs that would have been created with this new venture may never come to pass.

Oregon is no longer a virgin when it comes to gambling. Walk into any bar in the city, and you will see video poker, keno TV screens and scratch-off tickets.

Kulongoski proclaims that there are other parts of the state that want public works projects, and we don't want to set a precedent. Well, the day Eugene, Madras and Cottage Grove have the wherewithal to land a major league baseball team will be the day I buy oceanfront property in Arizona. Get real, Governor!

If the state of Oregon is not selected to be the new home of the Montreal Expos, the baseball coalition in this state should unite to recall our governor. Every labor union, school employee, parents and our police and fire departments should unite as well.

Michael Dennis

Lake Oswego

Politics are way out of Jaynes' league

One of Oregon's loudest and most infamous nonvoting entertainers, Dwight Jaynes, has left the sporting arena for the political arena to throw hardballs at Oregon's pro-voting governor, Ted Kulongoski (Governor bet wrong on casino gift horse, March 14).

Jaynes wants our political system to turn Portland into Las Vegas. Jaynes hasn't said whether he supports the proposed taxes that would keep kids in public school, or whether he's in bed with state Sen. Charles Starr, who believes that home schooling is the answer to our crisis in educational funding.

Until Jaynes is ready to stand up to the political plate and put his mark where his mouth is, he should keep it shut.

Richard Ellmyer

North Portland

Opposition to war is not un-American

Even before the war to remove Saddam Hussein began, the right to dissent became an early casualty. The right wing in this country is pulling out all the stops to demonize anyone who questions the Bush administration's plans to go to war.

KXL (750 AM) radio host Lars Larson compared University of Oregon professor Frank Stahl, who tried to get the university to pass an antiwar resolution, to a professor who's accused of aiding terrorists. He also defends Ann Coulter's statement that liberals must be 'physically intimidated' and cuts off informed callers who question his viewpoint.

Bill O'Reilly repeatedly calls dissenters 'bad Americans' and 'America haters,' says they should leave the country and implied that he'd consider running down a protester with his car. A New York Sun newspaper editorial suggested that war protesters are guilty of treason.

It appears that many on the right are afraid of an honest debate on the merits of a war with Iraq, so they are trying to bully dissenters into silence.

Michael Hagmeier

Northeast Portland

We should jump at chance for sister city

Bologna, Italy, hopefully will be our next sister city (Bologna's the buzzword for our next sister city, Insight, Jan. 24). It's a very good choice.

The art museum and the university are major players there, so much so that the city earned the nickname of 'La Dotta,' which means 'the erudite' or 'the doctorate.'

The Slow Food movement, emphasizing culinary excellence, apparently started there, but good, simple, rich foods have been a hallmark of the city for a long time, giving it another nickname: 'La Grassa,' or 'the fat one'!

It is the home of mortadella Ñ a better bologna Ñ among other salumi specialties. Throughout Italy, everybody calls for salsa alla bolognese when ordering spaghetti; it is a hearty meat-based sauce with tomatoes Ñ of course Ñ and basil, oregano, etc.

Mass transit is likely one of the challenges there, as everywhere in the congested, modern world. Bologna is seriously studying a metro transit system, with a subway downtown, just like TriMet ought to in order to make MAX really useful and efficient for both downtown and regional use.

However, sorry, it is not the home of Ferrari automobiles (as mentioned in the sidebar). That's in Maranello, in the province of Modena, a great city in its own right, fairly close to Bologna, both located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

Hopefully this sisterly relationship will be of great benefit to both communities, bringing more friendship and understanding across a troubled world. This is certainly worth striving for.

Ray Polani

Southeast Portland