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Sports fans can also be practical

Readers’ Letters

Dwight Jaynes tries to make the case that bringing baseball to Portland is all about the fun time at the ballpark (Portland could use Seattle's smarts, June 13).

As a person who has seen baseball at Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium, the Kingdome (yuck), Safeco Field, Royals Stadium and Ñ yes Ñ Civic Stadium (never PGE Park); as a person who loves baseball; as someone who can't keep his eyes off a television screen with any game on, reads box scores and (baseball writers) Bill James, Lawrence Ritter, et al. Ñ I beg to differ.

If the issue were the physical beauty and recreational delight of a day at the ballpark, the Beavers would be satisfactory for anyone. But we are talking money. And we must consider whether Portland can afford Ñ and will support Ñ a major league baseball team (OK, the Expos).

Why are our so-called public representatives so eager to subsidize a private enterprise to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars?

Isn't Enron enough for us?

If there is such a groundswell of desire for baseball, why has Portland been unable to support the Beavers? In New York, Buffalo Bison fans have been taking themselves out to their stadium in such large numbers for decades that, in 1988, they built a new ballpark.

Portland already has a major league team in basketball, and it brings us nothing but embarrassment and higher admission prices.

Portland Ñ and Oregon Ñ can ill afford to spend money on anything beyond basic civic necessities for the foreseeable future and, unless Major League Baseball and its local boosters can give us unassailable figures demonstrating the unequivocal financial benefits of our investment, they deserve nothing but a Bronx cheer and directions to Interstate 5 or I-84 so they can take their show to a wealthier and more profligate venue.

William D. Michtom

Southwest Portland

One taxpayer's refund

destined for clinic

Thank you for Promise King's column highlighting both the wonderful work that the North Portland Nurse Practitioner Clinic does and also the tremendous unmet health care needs of our local community (Need for clinic services surges as aid dwindles, Insight, June 3). Mariah Taylor and her clinic provide a crucial safety net for those who fall through the health care cracks. Yet as powerful as Taylor is, she can't do it alone.

As President Bush enacts his tax cut, I begin to wonder about our society's fundamental orientation to those in need. In essence, the child tax credit will only benefit those who could do without it! Thanks for the column highlighting the clinic's desperate need.

When I get my refund I am going to give the clinic every cent, and I would encourage others to do the same. Give the money to the kids who really need it.

Laurie Lundy

Northeast Portland

Small beer tax would

result in big benefits

Programs that would benefit from an increase in Oregon's long-dormant beer tax are far from 'pet projects,' as a recent commentary claims (Beer tax dampens industry's spirits, Insight, June 17).

More than 50,000 adults and children suffering from mental illness and/or drug and alcohol addiction have been unable to get the treatment they need because of state budget cuts to local programs during the past two years. These are effective and critical programs that help ensure the health and safety of Oregon communities, and they are where the bulk of the beer tax money would go.

The commentary criticized House Bill 3258, which contained both a beer and wine tax. But the only bill now under consideration is HB 2804. This legislation, sponsored by five legislators Ñ Republicans and Democrats Ñ would raise the beer tax (and thus the price of beer) by 7 cents per 12-ounce container, but not the wine tax.

It is not the work of 'anti-alcohol crusaders,' as the commentary claimed, but of Oregonians with a vision for a better future. Surveys show most citizens are willing to pay a few pennies more for a bottle of beer if the funds are dedicated to programs that reduce auto crashes, broken homes and other devastating impacts of alcohol.

That is exactly what HB 2804 would do.

Contrary to claims by the alcohol industry, a federal beer tax increase in 1991 did not cause huge job losses, according to U.S. Labor Department statistics. Oregon's beer tax, which hasn't increased in more than a quarter century, is fifth lowest in the country. The increase would apply equally to out-of-state and in-state breweries' products, so HB 2804 would not 'penalize' the Oregon-based industry, as the commentary claimed.

Several states recently have increased alcohol taxes. An increase in Oregon's beer tax is not the only answer to our budget problems, but it is a sensible part of the solution.

Rep. Jackie Dingfelder

Democrat

Northeast Portland

Sen. Bill Morrisette

Democrat

Springfield

Montavilla suffers

more from apathy

I read with interest your article about the toy store on Northeast 80th Avenue and Glisan Street (Second Montavilla fire raises arson fear, June 20). I purchased my first house on Northeast 79th and Glisan in 1990. I put a lot of money into my house and a lot of effort into making the neighborhood a clean, safe place to live, eventually giving up to neighborhood apathy and crime.

When I put my house on the market at the end of 1993, I started lowering the asking price by $1,000, wondering if I would have to give the house away before it sold. I eventually lowered the price by $7,000.

I had occasion to drive by the area the week before the fire and saw nothing whatsoever to indicate that 'the neighborhood is slowly getting better,' as the owner of Flying Pie Pizzeria said. It still looks run-down and derelict.

Why, I wonder, if Kim Nguyen did indeed hear the sound of glass shattering and thought kids were breaking into someone's car on the street, did she not get up and at least call 911? It was this kind of apathy 10 years ago that caused me to leave and move to Tigard.

Gail Lowy

Tigard