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Cut spending before reforming taxes

The profile of state Rep. Max Williams stated, 'Williams' core group of tax reformers see their plan as the best way to provide a stable source of money for schools and other services' (Republicans take on the Max factor, July 15).

How on God's green earth do we establish stable funding from a different tax system? Tax systems are inherently unstable in weak economic times. Stability is not a function of a particular tax system. Stability is achieved by controlling costs. What a concept!

Discussing only revisions to our tax system and not looking at prioritizing spending at a time when our state has entered a period of antagonizingly slow economic growth almost ensures we will remain mired in a sluggish economy.

To many, tax reform is simply a scheme to raise tax revenues. Why would anyone consider it any other way when you are down $2 billion in general fund revenue for starters, with no hope the economy will grow fast enough in the short term to make up for the shortfall? Yes, we need to lower the top tax rate and capital gains rates. You can't do it unless you are willing to first decide on how much government we need. Nobody talking tax reform has shown the slightest bit of interest in doing that.

Pollster Tim Hibbitts has repeatedly indicated that the polling numbers for the general idea of a sales tax have not changed since the last time a sales tax was voted on in 1993.

Certainly, by continually focusing on tax reform, you obviate looking at a more pressing problem Ñ restructuring the state's general fund to reflect the reality that during the next eight years revenues will not come pouring into the treasury the way they did just a few years ago.

Harry Doyle

Northeast Portland

Dogs and their owners

are taking over parks

I've watched the popularity of owning large dogs grow exponentially in the last 20 years. Correspondingly, I've experienced the change wrought upon the city parks as they've been transformed from serene retreats to frenzied dog runs.

In many parks, such as Mount Tabor, the once-significant wildlife population has been destroyed or chased away by the dogs running off leash. Then, too, I've witnessed the incongruent changes in park feature and landscape undertaken by the city in an effort to appease dog owners' belief that parks should be managed as no more than 'common back yards' or kennel clubs.

By force of their ever-increasing numbers, dog owners have asserted a kind of political takeover of the parks, whereby 'off leash' has become the norm, notwithstanding the signage against such practice. Countless times I've been rebuked by dog owners to whom I've complained about their dogs running free. They've come to see it as their right!

In response to the recent dog poisonings at Laurelhurst Park, the city now seems inclined to indulge the fad of large (and often multiple) dog ownership by ceding more of parks' purpose and area to pet recreation and exercise range. This is akin to opening up the remaining wilderness to off-roading to accommodate the popularity of SUVs.

This is unacceptable. Dogs are social animals and interact as such, forcing upon others in the park some level of social interaction with them, whether it is experienced as agreeable, threatening or just a distraction. In effect, dogs change the park experience proportionate to their numbers, not much different from multiplying the density of people usage.

Look, I want parks because escape from overcrowding gets harder as cities sprawl wider and become denser. I hate neither dogs nor people, but I do believe parks function best when they preserve as vestigial experience the wilderness that is beaten further and further back from our experience otherwise.

Storie Mooser

Southeast Portland

East-side citizens

feel like orphans

While the Portland City Council is planning on spending millions of dollars in public funds on the South Macadam Project Ñ a project that has seen little public review Ñ many of us on the east side of the Willamette River are wondering if the city limits now stop at the river.

Twenty years ago, residents on the east side were promised a main sewer line to be built down Southeast 174th Avenue. As the City Council continues to polish the Pearl District, we still wait for our promise to be fulfilled.

Our project can be built at a fraction of the cost of the Macadam project, yet time and again, residents are told there are no funds on the budget for our much-needed sewer line.

Maybe if residents demanded an aerial tram over 174th Avenue, we could get the city's attention. We don't need one, but it certainly captivates the City Council.

James L. Jenkins

Southeast Portland