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Drop the hysterics, and tell it like it is

Once again it is political blackmail time. 'Chicken Little' and 'Cry Wolf' tunes echo old scare-tactic lyrics that there is not enough money for the kids, for the elderly, for medical coverage for all the low-income families, to keep schools open, etc. To support these guilt-ridden themes, we watch people drag out all the worst-case examples they can find.

Every election where money is involved, these disaster alarms are sounded unmercifully by the media, the government and special interest groups as they try to con us out of more money. In reality, they give taxpayers every reason not to be believe everything they say.

Now Multnomah County wants us to allow a 'temporary' income tax. There is no such thing as a temporary tax. Once a precedent for this tax has been set, officials will find a way to extend it and/or establish a permanent tax based on Measure 26-48. I say, forget it. We taxpayers have to live within our means and so should all public-supported organizations. Until we get a detailed accounting of what's done with all the various fines, fees, penalties, building permits, taxes, lottery funds and any other sources of revenue, don't come to me for more money.

Gordon Foss

Gresham

Show us incentives work, or drop them

Multnomah County residents are being asked to increase their own taxes at the same time that the city of Portland is providing huge tax incentives for urban renewal development projects.

I believe it is time that the city either should quantify the economic benefit from these incentives, or eliminate them and level the playing field for all. The city should be able to show that increased revenues from providing these incentives are either equal to or greater than the amount of the incentives themselves.

David R. Lister

Northeast Portland

Reasons are many to vote yes on 26-48

The League of Women Voters of Portland urges a yes vote on Measure 26-48, a temporary 1.25 percent income tax dedicated to funding schools, public safety and social services in Multnomah County. Our community is already seeing the effects of the severe cuts from Salem. Crime rates are increasing, those who rely on the safety net are finding themselves homeless or in emergency rooms and intensive care units, and schools are operating on a bare-bones budget.

We may be 'living within our means,' but very real costs are being passed on to individuals and institutions. Increased insurance claims and property damage result from the upswing in crime. Hospital costs for those not receiving needed prescription drugs appear in increased health insurance premiums. New businesses are reluctant to move to a community that cannot provide a full school year or reasonable class sizes. Vote yes on Measure 26-48. We can't afford not to!

Jan Wolf

President, League of Women Voters of Portland

Southwest Portland

Audubon leader's switch raises questions

In reference to your article on the two Audubon offices in Portland, I feel betrayed by David Eshbaugh's recent move from the Portland Audubon Society to the new Oregon Audubon office, a field office under the National Audubon Society (Bird groups hatch a rivalry, April 29). As an enthusiastic member of the thriving and independent Portland group, I had come to trust David's leadership there. He seemed committed to us.

Using a figurative picture, he turns a cartwheel, goes over and comes up as the director of a new organization that looks like a close family relation who has been told to stay away to avoid a conflict of interest or competition.

These days, with shrinking resources, there cannot be enough for two groups in one community with similar names to be healthy or viable. We already have too many choices here.

Besides this, I am appalled to learn how Dave fell into this new job. Is this nepotism? Dave sits as a board member of a family foundation back East; his father is the board president and is a member of National Audubon's board as well. This foundation, along with the national organization, has put up the money to start the new office here and hire a director: Dave Eshbaugh. He was still Portland Audubon's director while this was being set up. How honest was he with staff and supporters under those circumstances? I, for one, knew little until the deed was done.

Katharine Diack

Southwest Portland

Hawash prosecutors use laws dangerously

The article, 'Two faces of Maher Hawash' (May 2), partially illuminated for many what is a difficult-to-understand issue, and I thank you for it.

However, I think there is still one complexity of the situation that needs exposure, and this has been in fact the essence of our complaint regarding material witness detentions.

Our concern in Mike Hawash's case, as in the cases of many other Arab-Americans across the country, is that the material witness statute is being used in combination with protective orders ('gag orders') that prohibit attorneys and others with knowledge of the case from commenting. The combination of these two legitimate prosecutorial tools creates an illegitimate, and possibly unconstitutional, tool.

In short, the material witness statute is valuable and proper when it is applied to witnesses, not when it is applied to people who are, in truth, suspects. Court seals are valuable and proper when they protect important state secrets and ongoing investigations, not when they simply shield prosecutors from public scrutiny. The combination of the two amounts to 'secret justice,' which is contrary to everything our judicial system stands for.

Steven McGeady

Northeast Portland