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PUD operators do the job just fine

I had to laugh at the self-serving, elitist comment from Edison Electric Institute, a trade association for investor-owned utilities, in your article on public power, postulating that publicly owned utilities 'lack the skills and acumen needed to operate in today's complex and competitive power market' (Public power sparks debate near and far, June 24).Ê

As a professional strategist and planner who includes electric co-ops in my diverse client base, I've observed these public-power managers and their business partners to be farsighted, shrewd, entrepreneurial and passionate about their public purpose and contribution to local communities. Who does the institute suggest consumers are better served by Ñ the 'experienced players' who brought us Enron?

Sue Diciple

Northeast Portland

Social, political factors

overlooked in essay

Thinking I had perhaps been transported to a different time and place than Portland in 2003, I was stunned to read the anachronistic and racist editorial by Richard F. LaMountain regarding the death of Kendra James (Tragedy began with woman's upbringing, Insight, June 27).

Unfortunately, the opposing editorial did not provide an effective counterargument.

LaMountain's attempts to cloak his blaming of James for her death in questionable social theory failed to conceal its foundation in bigotry and ignorance.

Somehow bypassing phrenology and Charles Murray's 'The Bell Curve,' LaMountain hints at bygone stereotypes of degenerate and oversexed African-Americans to justify his reasoning. Curiously, he focuses on the influence of a supposed 'family instability' on the behavior of African-Americans but is unwilling to acknowledge the influence of social, political and economic discrimination against people of color.

Kendra James did not deserve to be shot and killed by a police officer. Equal protection extends to all people in our society. Surely, a better choice of editorial would have helped your readers to develop greater 'insight' regarding this tragic injustice.

Matthew Breeze

Northeast Portland

Coliseum's future

should be put to vote

We thought that the Memorial Coliseum was built by the taxpayers for the city to operate. Changing the intent of the voters, without voter approval, is simply outrageous. This facility belongs to the people of Portland. It also was dedicated as a memorial for those who gave their lives in combat.

Why can't the issue be placed on the ballot, letting local voters decide what should happen to Memorial Coliseum?

Glenn Morris

Southeast Portland

Denial only makes

sickness harder to cure

Regarding Eban Goodstein's, Edward Wolf's and John Charles' exchange on global warming (Is global warming a dire ecological threat that requires immediate attention or a theoretical nonissue?, Insight, June 20), Goodstein and Wolf's equating of global warming with terrorism may be alarmist, but Charles' position is both disappointing and harmful.

Advocates of market solutions to public problems should help find cost-effective ways to distribute limited resources more effectively, not take moral positions on priorities (i.e., global poverty is more important than global warming). Political and social institutions set the priorities. Then market-oriented policies can guide private- and public-sector decisions among priorities based on ownership rights and incentives. One example is trading pollution permits under the U.S. Clean Air Act. It should be amended to include greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Like the patient who takes the quack's advice over 10 doctors' opinions, those who deny the illness of global warming make necessary future intervention more radical, more expensive and less likely to succeed. Global warming is real; those in denial need to get over it and help or get out of the way.

We probably can't cure the disease in our lifetime; we can only slow its spread and ameliorate its symptoms. Our children and their children need the time to find a cure instead of triage our mistakes.

Michael S. Ashford

Deputy director, the Climate Trust

Southeast Portland

Electric mower was

a smart investment

I recently turned in my gas mower for a $50 credit and bought an electric mower (Turn in gas mower, and you may be sorry, Readers' Letters, June 24). The price was high ($475), but it included an attached weed eater, edger, a mulching kit and a spare battery.

At first glance I was disappointed: It had plastic wheels! But then I started using it and, wow, was I impressed. It's light, very quiet, emits no toxic exhaust and does a terrific job. It also has a 10-year warranty. I know people who fire up a gas lawn mower, a gas leaf blower, a gas chipper, a gas edger and a gas weed whacker! The noisy, stinky, toxic racket is mostly unnecessary.

It's not surprising that certain business owners worry only about their wallets and not the future of our biosphere Ñ heck, the Bush regime's official policy on global warming is to confuse and distort. But to worry about my wallet is ripe.

Yes, my old mower is probably worth more than $50 somewhere. But leaders always pay more for being first. It does cost more in time and money to do what I do: purchase green power, walk to work, buy organic, reduce use of meat, compost, not use chemicals on my lawn É and now use an electric mower, weed eater, edger and blower.

I never bought the pitch that freedom and democracy equal convenience. In fact, I think it's just the opposite. It is my hope that in 50 years, when we have slowed down global warming (currently at 6.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually and rising), all the oil billionaires' grandchildren will be buying green power, too!

Dave Kunz

Southeast Portland