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Let new Columbia Villa be leafy

I read with interest about the changes that are planned for Columbia Villa (Razing a neighborhood to save it, April 25). It prompted me to take another drive through the area because I had only seen the neighborhood once before.

I can't comment on future designs or what the rest of the neighbors think of the changes. I can only hope that in the future design the city incorporates some people-friendly and Earth-friendly landscaping to enhance the livability. It struck me as odd that the current dwellings have so few trees ÑÊall that grassy lawn but no gardens. I realize that it is public housing, but does it have to be so sterile and devoid of plant life?

Susan Stelljess

Northeast Portland

Words for the family

of a fallen Marine

To the family of Marine Capt. Aaron J. Contreras:

We are fourth-grade students at Keystone Heights Elementary School in Keystone Heights, Fla. We know that our country has been at war and that thousands of American Ñ and other Ñ men and women are risking their lives to keep us safe. And we are grateful for that.

More important, we know that you have lost someone close to you because of this war. For this we are very sad and very sorry. We will be thinking of you and praying for you every day.

God bless you, and God bless America.

Len Young, Dee Strassberger, teachers,

and Keystone Heights

fourth-graders

Keystone Heights, Fla.

City has a history

of ignoring neighbors

As a former member of my neighborhood association (Goose Hollow Foothills League), I'm well aware of neighbors' frustration with a city that solicits public input and ignores it (The people vs. the process, April 15).

The frustration is compounded when the city fails to follow established procedures for public input, as it did in siting a Holocaust memorial in Washington Park without following the Washington Park Master Plan drafted by neighborhoods and the city. Neighbors had a right to rely upon the plan for a public process for memorial siting, but the city trampled that right.

The mayor and City Council pay lip service to the importance of neighborhood input but find it useful only when it supports their, and their campaign donors', agendas and allows them to boast about carrying out the people's wishes.

Len Stevens

Southwest Portland

Problem with schools

isn't funding source

It was sad to note that the Tribune devoted its formerly balanced Insight page to opinion pieces by two public school co-dependents and their pleas for passage of the Multnomah County income tax measure (Public funding is fundamental and We can't bake enough cookies, April 15).

It's a foolish thought when one realizes that life-and-death budget lines are squeezed out of state budgets to prioritize the funding of K-12 education for the children of the affluent. This in government schools with overextended budgets caused by the monopoly status and political clout of union suppliers of education services.

Gus Miller

Southwest Portland

American Legion says

flag symbols, pins OK

This is in response to Alexis Hamilton's letter regarding desecration of the U.S. flag (Patriotic message gets lost in flag desecration, April 8).

Hamilton is somewhat misinformed. Unless an article of clothing is made from the actual flag of the United States, there is no breach of flag etiquette whatsoever, nor is it considered to be desecrating the flag.

There are many who are simply expressing their patriotism and love of country by wearing an article of clothing that happens to be red, white and blue with stars and stripes. There is nothing illegal about the wearing or use of these types of clothing.

Our proposed constitutional amendment is to protect the flag from intentional physical desecration. Frequently the issue was raised by those members of Congress who voiced opposition to the amendment, regarding what is the definition of the flag, and does this definition include items of clothing that are red, white and blue with stars and stripes.

Our response to this hypothetical question has been, 'Hoist a pair of 'flag' shorts up a flagpole, and see who salutes. Hoist Old Glory up the flagpole, and then see who salutes.' '

Displaying a flag that is no longer serviceable is not desecration, it is a breach of flag etiquette. We would certainly hope that torn, tattered, ripped or faded flags are replaced when they are no longer fitting emblems for display. As a community service, many of our 15,000 American Legion posts across the country conduct ceremonies for the disposal of unserviceable flags.

Finally, the flag code allows for the wearing of a flag pin; I wear one proudly on my left lapel.

Michael D. Buss

National Headquarters,

American Legion

Indianapolis

Everyday adults also

marched against war

The antiwar people are not mostly 20-year-old college kids with rings in their noses, as SoapBox writer Steve Berry says (Old wounds can reopen in wartime, Insight, April 11); we are mostly your neighbors and co-workers. The media photographers don't document the middle-aged, middle-class people who make up the majority of the protesters.

I am a professional, taxpaying citizen who is the daughter of a military man and was the wife of a Vietnam veteran Ñ and I'm a war protester. After witnessing, through the media, dozens of wars and conflicts throughout the world during my lifetime, my conclusion is that war is outdated; it doesn't work.

The very fact that Berry is constantly angry and urges vets to get help so they won't kick their dog or their family tells me that war begets violence throughout our society, not just in the places we bomb. Peace can't be gotten with war. You just spawn more wars.

Nancy Berne

Northeast Portland

Republicans can win

in Portland politics

The 'elephant in the living room' that Mike Wiley ignores in his plea for partisan elections in Portland (Portland needs true political diversity, Insight, April 11) is the fact that all recently elected Republicans mentioned in his and Jewel Lansing's articles are or were from the moderate wing of the party.

Republicans with the credentials and philosophies of New York City's Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and Portland's Charlie Hales, Mildred Schwab and Connie McCready would have little trouble getting elected in any Portland race, partisan or not.

On the other hand, Republicans such as the ultraconservative Mike Wiley wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell in the same race. Party labels do not a winning candidate make.

Rolf Glerum

Northwest Portland

Pity those who believe

shock-talk radio hosts

In the last couple of months we've had the following:

• A license plate-making company crying the blues about having to compete with the state prison, and people calling talk radio in shock and disgust. Of course, these are the same people who insisted that those 'lazy prisoners' work 40 hours a week. How you can have that many people working without competing against private businesses, I can't figure out. Another simple solution that doesn't work.

• A complaint that government is not capable of doing the simplest thing correctly; however, it is 100 percent accurate on something as complicated as the death penalty.

• The assertion that the people have spoken on Measure 7 or Measure 11 or taxes, so how can state government not listen to them? But on things like minimum wage, medical marijuana, hunting cougars with dogs, etc., well, we voters just didn't understand what we were voting for.

• Talk radio hosts say that 70 percent of the public is for taking out Iraq, yet the peace marches are far larger than the pro-troop marches.

I could go on and on for days with one hypocritical example after another. Just remember: Outrage and controversy equal ratings. It's much easier to be against something than for something.

Gene Blick

Tigard