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Dog owners comments show extent of problem

The comments by Paul Martinez at the end of your recent off-leash article exemplify why we have a problem in Portland (In parks battle, dogs make up the flash point, June 17). Nearly every one of his statements is wrong.

• 'I see very few people who are really unhappy (about the off-leash dogs).' Either Martinez is not looking, or he's refusing to see, or many people Ñ like myself Ñ have stopped going to the parks where they are liable to be verbally assaulted by dog owners, if they speak up about their right to use the park, or physically assaulted by an uncontrolled dog.

• 'It's a very vocal minority.' Who took the poll? There are many people who are unhappy about off-leash dogs, not a vocal minority. One has only to talk to the parks department, neighborhood associations and the county animal shelter to get a true idea of the number of people who feel strongly about this flagrant disregard for, and violation of, established ordinances.

• 'There are more dog owners than there are families in the Portland area.' If this were true (and I'd like to see his source for it), that still does not give the dog owners any right to flout the law, claim the parks as their private dog playgrounds, intimidate and curse those who remind them that they are violating the law, and place other people and their dogs at risk of attack.

• 'To crack down now is unrealistic.' Really? Why? The laws are on the books. Enforcement and levying of fines would pay for current and continued enforcement.

• 'If they really crack down Ñ if they just strike back at all the dog owners Ñ the owners may strike back at city parks.' This is an outrageous statement, but I guess we should expect threats from someone who already has shown no regard for the law or for his personal civic responsibility. And I would remind Martinez that we are not talking about all dog owners, just those anarchists who think that laws don't apply to them and their dogs.

• 'There's never been a solution.'

How about:

1) Restricted hours for off-leash dogs.

2) Certain parks designated as No Dogs Allowed, period.

3) Assumption of civic and social responsibility by dog owners.

4) Strict enforcement and increased fines for violation of the law.

Or, how about those who, like Martinez, want and need an off-leash area coming up with a viable and legal answer instead of just ignoring the laws?

The only thing I can figure on this dog leash nonenforcement is a simple lack of political will in City Hall. I suspect that everyone responsible for enforcement is a dog owner and therefore sympathetic to the off-leash cause to the point of being paralyzed, and/or those elected to enforce the laws fear for their political careers if they take on anything so controversial, even if it merely means applying the law.

All I'm asking is that dog owners obey the law. Seems pretty simple.

If you love your dog, leash your dog.

Ray Horton

Northeast Portland

More Reggie,

less Tonya

Kudos to Dwight Jaynes for his exposure of Tonya Harding as the joke she is (Grand illusion, June 17). And even bigger kudos for his positive mention of Reggie Davis. I have been taking women's boxing at Matt Dishman Community Center for seven years. Davis has been the women's coach for three or four years there.

Davis is a great coach and a dedicated boxer, and he deserves recognition for his talent. Yes, maybe it's true that, as Jaynes says, we need to be reminded that the world isn't a fair place. However, some of us have the ability to tip the scales toward the little guy once in a while, and I am disappointed that the Tribune didn't do that in the article. Rather than showing a half-page-sized photo of Harding, and polluting what would have been an otherwise good article on a 'real' local pro, Jaynes could have written an article solely on Davis. Do newspapers need the large celebrity photos to sell more papers? No need to answer that Ñ I already know the answer.

Might I suggest, rather than giving newspaper space to the 'fakes,' highlight the real pros: the ones who work hard and have the determination, ability and courage to pursue their dreams. Davis is one of these people. He deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments, not because he fought the same night as a well-known wannabe fighter. Give the public a little credit; some of us want to read about the local folks.

Amy K. Drew

Northeast Portland

Open primaries would

lead to political games

There is another major problem with revising the current primary system (Revise primary to revive politics, Insight, June 13). Under the proposed change of an open primary, we open the system to organized weaselcraft.

Imagine an open presidential primary, as an example. Republicans are going to overwhelmingly vote for President Bush.

However, with nine Democrats currently running for president, they are going to split the vote to a great extent. Assume Bush takes 50 percent of the vote. That leaves the other 50 percent to be split nine ways. A small percentage of enterprising Republicans can (and already have started the groundwork to do so) jump party lines and throw a monkey wrench into the Democratic plans to take the White House by supporting the Rev. Al Sharpton. Under Phil Keisling's proposal, it would be possible to propel Sharpton into the second-place position to run as the Democratic challenger in the November election.

It's weaselcraft: It's making sure that the weakest possible Democrat comes in second to the president for a November runoff.

This is what happened to Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. In the open primary, Republicans jumped party lines to vote for her opponent to ensure that she would not make it to the November election. We put Republicans in charge of the Democratic Party. This is wrong. I am a Republican for a reason. The thought of handing control of my party over to the Democrats, the Greens, the Libertarians or any other party is appalling.

Open primaries sound good in theory. But in practice, the opportunity for abuse is too great and creates an even worse system than anything we have.

If you want to see a change in the parties, get involved. Make your voice heard. Both the Republicans and Democrats elect their precinct committee people, who in turn make up the county central committees, who in turn make up the state central committees. Get in contact with your party and find out how you can be a candidate to be a member of your county central committee. Find out about the various auxiliaries of your party and get involved.

A single wave striking the beach does nothing. A thousand waves striking the beach in concert will change the landscape forever.

Sam Weikel

Capital City

Young Republicans

Salem