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Ah, the good old days of protests

I appreciated your report on the college professor who says today's demonstrators don't know how to protest the right way, the way we used to do it during the big one (Activists try a new tack for Thursday rally, April 29).

And why can't they listen to some nice music like Jefferson Airplane?

Today's protesters have nothing to complain about regarding corporate media until they try demonstrating with just three networks.

You think Attorney General John Ashcroft is tough? That's because you've never heard of a fellow named John Mitchell.

Permits? They only become an issue if you sit around planning these things for weeks.

I don't see any Yippies. (If you don't know what a fun-loving Yippie is, that just shows how little respect you have for the protest history that makes today's demonstrations possible.)

Those black boots are ugly. I don't care how many other protesters are wearing them.

How do you expect people to show up when you don't even have a New Age paradigm captured in slogan? 'Give Peace a Chance.' 'Make Love Not War.' These phrases are classics for a reason.

No concert afterward? Hello!

And that thing in your nose isn't doing anybody any good, except distracting people from looking at the color in your hair.

Protesters these days!

Michael Dolan

Northeast Portland

Alliance mission

goes beyond taxes

We appreciated the opportunity to be interviewed regarding the Westside Economic Alliance and our current activities and objectives (Alliance frowns on city's bid for PGE, April 29).

Thank you for correcting some misinformation in the article. Since its inception, the alliance has worked hard to develop positions of responsible policy, and to be viewed as an objective and valued voice by regional and state government bodies. It concerns us greatly to be misquoted or misunderstood regarding our positions on issues of importance to our region. These misunderstandings potentially harm our ability to aid in our region's return to economic vitality.

We would like to expand on the article's discussion of our position on TriMet's proposed one-tenth of a percentage point increase in payroll taxes. As your correction of May 6 made clear, your story erred in saying that we oppose the tax. We are supportive of the increases conditioned on (a) TriMet's willingness to adopt a policy and commitment to support a balanced transportation system, (b) TriMet's commitment to improve Washington County transit service, and (c) TriMet's commitment not to implement the tax increase until the region has recovered economically.

We are grateful to TriMet's general manager, Fred Hansen, for meeting with us to allow us to express our concerns. We are currently attempting to arrange a meeting with members of TriMet's board of directors to further discuss our opinions.

The alliance does not have a 'no new tax' agenda. The business community the alliance represents is concerned about the increasing focus on business to fund public services through increased business taxes. The challenge for our membership and the alliance is to thoroughly understand the various tax initiatives and lend our support to those that we feel are of the highest benefit to our communities and the region, without unjustly burdening the business community.

We have been supportive of tax proposals in the past that we feel are justified, and we are certain we will be supportive of tax proposals in the future. As an organization, our focus for the past several years has been on economic development, transportation, and land use, not taxes.

We have appreciated the opportunity to meet with Sens. Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith over the past several years. They, as well as all of our congressional and state delegation members, are always welcome, but they do not attend our alliance meetings on a regular basis. The mayors of Beaverton and Tualatin, the assistant city manager of Hillsboro and the chair of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners currently represent the public sector on the alliance board.

The alliance is a unique public private partnership. Its primary mission is to develop and sustain a healthy business environment on the west side.

Mike Schmid

President,

Westside Economic Alliance

Jim Mark

Immediate past president

Steve Clark

Past president

Metro president takes surprising, sharp turn

Having followed David Bragdon's campaign for the Metro presidency and read his first speech in which he established parks and green spaces as his top priority, I was astounded that his Tribune piece regarding job creation and economic development was devoid of any mention of the role the region's environmental quality, parks, green spaces and trails play in maintaining a healthy economy (Metro puts priority on jobs, Insight, April 8).

Bragdon handily defeated an antiplanning, anti-environment opponent whose campaign rhetoric was replete with ill-founded arguments that environmental regulations are bad for the economy. Bragdon understands that quality of life; equitable distribution of parks, natural areas and trails; clean water and air; and access to nature are crucial to maintaining a competitive advantage in the Portland-Vancouver region. Unfortunately, many in the development community Ñ perhaps the intended audience for the Tribune piece Ñ do not understand that connection.

Rather than focusing on industrial infrastructure alone, as Bragdon's opinion piece seemed to suggest, he and his Metro colleagues should also put in place environmental regulations that protect and restore the region's green infrastructure: streams, wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat. Metro has dragged out its fish and wildlife habitat planning process for far too long. It's time to adopt stronger environmental regulations to complement its successful parks and green spaces acquisition program. Then, too, Metro needs to expand the regional parks, green spaces and trails network. Those two actions will enhance the region's competitive edge at least as much Ñ I would argue more Ñ as adding industrial lands to the urban growth boundary.

Mike Houck

Urban Greenspaces Institute

Northwest Portland

Generalizations about

activists are unfair

Portland State University professor David Horowitz's sweeping generalizations about the antiwar movement (Activists try a new tack for Thursday rally, April 29) needlessly contribute to a climate of polarization and set a bad example for his students.

While his criticisms might conceivably fit some minority of antiwar activists, his comments lack the most basic qualifiers, such as 'some,' 'a few' or 'a number of.' Apparently it is the entire 'peace lobby' that is guilty of 'moral smugness and ideological rigidity.'

George Bernard Shaw once said, 'Every social revolution attracts the best and the worst elements in society.' It's always possible to find some number of participants in any mass movement who engage in infantile, destructive and self-defeating behavior. Perhaps Horowitz remembers his own indignation when, arriving home weary from one of those 1970s anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in which he so proudly participated, he was subjected to TV news coverage that inevitably managed to find the one Viet Cong flag in the crowd or to focus disproportionate attention on the three rock-throwers among the tens of thousands of nonviolent demonstrators.

By resorting to fundamentally unfair characterizations of Iraqi war opponents, Horowitz participates in the very 'stridency' that he attributes to those with whom he disagrees. His distorted characterizations insult the many Americans who sought to build a mass movement rooted in tough-minded analysis of the Bush administration's rationale for going to war and based on a sober examination of the likely human and geopolitical consequences.

Daniel Friedman

Southwest Portland