Greyhound track is no kiddie park
Multnomah Greyhound Park manager Jeff Grady compares the dog track to Disneyland and says the track is a good environment for children (New manager: Bring the kids to the dogs, Sports, May 2). Funny, I've never seen kids in any of the casinos here in Oregon, nor have I seen kids watching their folks bet at a video poker bar. Yet we accept children at the dog track.
Dog racing is about gambling, pure and simple.
Then there is the issue of the dogs that die because they can no longer turn a profit. Last year 3,000 dead greyhounds were found at a farm in Alabama, 10 miles from a dog track.
Is this how we teach kids to have good, clean fun?
We need to conserve,
not pay more taxes
I am very frustrated and appalled at the latest attempt by our governing body to pass an income tax increase (Is it time to help schools or make cuts?, Insight, May 2).
In a time when our unemployment rate is so high, they want the few people who have jobs to carry the burden, fund our schools and fund our social services. You cannot bleed a turnip, and that is what I feel is being done. What's more frustrating for me is that, having studied the situation in great detail, I understand the root cause of the challenge we face here and elsewhere is a long list of wasteful behaviors and shortsighted choices and policies.
We don't need new taxes, nor do we need more government control over our depleted financial resources. What we need is progressive change.
By conserving the energy and resources we use, and by tapping the vast clean, renewable resources that are present in the natural world, the revenue needed to fund our schools and social services would become available quickly.
This means a change in our daily habits and lifestyle choices. I'm very concerned that with gas prices coming down (still so heavily subsidized by the federal government that they are unrealistic in comparison to the total cost of production), we will lose sight of the crisis we still face as a global society. Working together, we can make a difference.
Robert J. Shields
A dime is a small price
for more peace of mind
Big booze is living in the past Ñ 1977, to be exact Ñ and they'd like to keep it that way. Beer and wine industry lobbyist Paul Romain writes to suggest that the industry's 'polling' shows that Oregonians don't support a beer tax increase (Polls find Oregonians oppose higher beer tax, Readers' Letters, April 25).
Depending on the question, a poll can show anything. A carefully worded industry poll is hardly the most reliable indicator of Oregon's pulse. Four independent polls taken by either state government or nonprofit organizations within the last two years show that if the money goes to prevention and treatment programs, Oregonians overwhelmingly support an increase in the beer tax.
Beer tax dollars that go to treatment programs also qualify for a federal match, which would help solve Oregon's budget crisis. My guess is that Romain's poll conveniently left out that piece of information.
Romain calls a modest increase 'outrageous.' What is really outrageous is that on Page 1 of the Tribune that same day, new reports show that crime sparked by drug addiction is up substantially throughout Portland (Crime numbers up all over town, April 25). A slightly higher beer tax would pay for drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs Ñ and for the restoration of cuts made to law enforcement.
I wonder if Romain's group has polled Oregonians on whether they would prefer to pay a dime more for a beer or have their homes broken into by those addicted to drugs and alcohol.
The beer industry's shrill response to a reasonable, sustainable funding stream that has not been adjusted since the Carter administration shows just how out of touch it is with real Oregonians. The strength and merit of adjusting Oregon's beer tax is directly proportional to the outcry from the beer industry. The more the industry and its high-priced lobbyists squawk, the more it seems like a good idea.
Christopher J. Curtis
Businesses want city
to respond to concerns
As a new member of the Gresham/East Portland Chamber of Commerce, I was very interested in the article 'City Hall, business bigwigs play blame game' (May 2).
I know the Portland Business Alliance is trying to encourage its members to define their needs and pool their resources.
That's exactly what the city of Portland was doing in the late 1980s and early '90s with its neighborhood-needs process and neighborhood activism. Portland prided itself on being a city that paid citizens to become part of the process and work together to make Portland a better place. There was no blame game then, when Mayor Bud Clark was in office.
I remember him coming out to the Mill Park Elementary School in his own car and telling us of the needs-assessment process and how we as citizens could be involved. In those days, it was the power of the people.
I believe that's why people voted for Measure 5 in 1990 Ñ not because we wanted our services cut, but because we wanted government to stop its waste, do the basics and provide services where they were needed. We wanted a say-so in how government spent our money. At least that's why I voted for Measure 5.
On the Gateway Education Committee, we have sat through many meetings trying to see how we could bring an education center to our area. Some of us want a performing arts center and recreation, but those aren't in the plans. 'It makes no money,' we are told.
We talk of how important it is to have jobs in the Gateway area to support the Gateway Plan. We talk and talk about how to do it, but nothing comes of it.
In the meantime, more density comes and more of the same businesses. We have a glut of businesses of the same kind, and no diversity, no mom-and-pop operations or points of interest.
Columnist shows courage
in advocating new ideas
I want to commend Promise King's 'new ideas' column (Education dilemmas require new ideas, Insight, April 22). We the taxpayers, it is my belief, by and large have become deeply suspicious of the 'more money' solution to all of public education's failings.
I think it takes genuine courage to go publicly on the record to say that the present system is broken, failing the people it was designed to help, especially minorities, and that it's time for 'new ideas.' Keep up the good work!
Mark D. Taylor