Readers’ Letters

Your story 'Wind proves not so mighty' (June 13) got it all wrong. While there have been some disappointments for clean-energy advocates in the region, there is a considerable amount of genuinely positive activity going on, especially in Oregon. Consider the facts: There are now four times as many megawatts of wind energy in the ground today as in 1999 (enough to power 145,000 Northwest homes), Oregon has just approved permits for another 284 megawatts, and the number of customers signing up for green power products from Oregon utilities has tripled since last year.

Plus, the new Energy Trust of Oregon has made possible a new wind project in Eastern Oregon, solar energy to help power the Brewery Blocks and six other renewable projects. Add to that the Eugene Water & Electric Board's commitment to add 1 percent new renewables to its electricity supply each year, PacifiCorp's plan to acquire 1,400 megawatts of renewables in the next 10 years and PGE's request for new power, including renewables, and you have a pretty different picture.

The existing Oregon wind projects alone are creating jobs and bringing more than $1.7 million annually into Sherman, Gilliam and Umatilla counties. Together, these projects will help reduce production of carbon dioxide, the biggest contributor to global warming, by 278,000 tons.

Wind and other renewables are helping us keep the air clean while stimulating economic development in Oregon's rural counties and helping stabilize our electricity rates. We think that is a mighty combination.

Rachel Shimshak

Renewable Northwest Project

Southwest Portland

Bob Jenks

Citizens' Utility Board

Southwest Portland

Woman's killing

prompts questions

When I read the story about the teenagers suspected of killing Jessica Kate Williams, I became so enraged that I considered going out on the streets and bringing the remaining suspect, Carl Alsup, within an inch of his life and letting him know what it really is to experience the lack of humanity that he has exhibited, let him truly know the realm of the victim (Street death: shock but no surprise, June 13).Ê

As a martial artist, I would be breaking a code that we adhere to, but at the same time I think that, in this case, it is warranted. The only thing that keeps me from carrying out the aforementioned daydream is that in the process of teaching him a lesson, I, too, would become the monster, let alone the fact that I am sane and am conscious of the fact that it is wrong to inflict harm on others, if you are not defending your family or yourself.

I can't believe that anybody would have this degree of disregard for humanity. It forces one to inquire, when does a person just stop caring? Furthermore, what would cause a person to act in such a hateful way? My thoughts on this are that these people are sociopathic monsters. They would have to be in order to commit such a crime on humanity. Hatred is a natural consequence of fear, and fear is a response to misunderstanding, either of a concept or a person.

It is beyond me that anyone could actually act on these animal instincts. The only thing that I can come up with is that the point at which people lose all hope and realize absolute despair is the same point at which they become beasts that act on animal instincts, thus making them monsters with no humanity. It seems to me that they might perceive that they have nothing to lose, because at the point just before absolute despair, all that they had and could call their own, the only thing that kept them humane, was hope. Labeling them as monsters, of course, assumes that they were indeed conscious that what they were doing was morally wrong and thereby legally sane.

Homo homini lupus Ñ 'Man is wolf to man.'

Sean Reilly


Rainy-day fund is

the best umbrella

If state Rep. Mark Hass wants to make the state economist's life easier, he should focus on building a rainy-day fund, financed with the kicker (Oregon needs a better umbrella, Insight, June 6).

Income tax is not the problem but part of the solution, because saving unanticipated income tax revenues during good times is the best way to protect state services during downturns.

Consumption taxes also fluctuate with the economy, and states relying on them are facing deep budget shortfalls. Many states lessened the impact of revenue shortfalls by drawing on rainy-day funds, which Oregon lacks.

Claims that income taxes are too harsh on the affluent and harm the economy are wrong. Oregon taxes the poor more heavily than the rich through excise and property taxes. If income taxes are so bad, why did Oregon's economy grow faster than that of any other state from 1995 to 2000?

Income inequality exploded in the 1990s. Hass' advice would exacerbate the problem. Swapping income taxes for consumption taxes would shift the tax burden further onto the poor and make financing a rainy day fund harder. Also, Oregonians would pay higher net taxes to raise the same revenue, because consumption taxes are not deductible on federal income taxes.

Jeff Thompson

Oregon Center for Public Policy

Northeast Portland

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