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Letters - Dec. 29, 2011

Barman is making a difference for schools

To the Editor:

I would like to express my appreciation for Bob Barman's leadership on our school board this year. Bob has demonstrated that he is willing to make an effort to become informed and engage on issues that matter to young families.

As a parent of three children, one at Waluga, one at Hallinan and one at Bryant (in the Mandarin Chinese Pre-K), I am grateful for Bob's determination to ensure equity between the high schools.

I also appreciate Bob's willingness to explore options for elementary world languages. I am thankful for the work he has done researching topics, asking important questions and making informed decisions. I truly appreciate Bob's passion and drive.

Thank you, Bob. You have a vision for Lake Oswego School District and you are making a difference.

Barbara Griffin

Lake Oswego

Clackamas county should use the E-Verify system

To the Editor:

Clackamas County Commissioners Lehan, Damon, Bernard, Lininger, and Savas should require Clackamas County government use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizen and Immigration Services E-Verify system.

The importance of Oregon employers using U.S. DHS CIS E-Verify system really becomes apparent when looking at Oregon's unemployment rate in October 2011 being at 9.5 percent, 177,350 Oregonians were unemployed. The October unemployment numbers for Oregonians in Clackamas County were at 8.8 percent; 17,113 of the county's residents were unemployed.

Unemployed Oregonians who are U.S. citizens or foreign citizens legally present with authorization to work in the country should not have to compete for jobs with a purported 97,000 undocumented foreign national workers illegally in the state.

If all Oregon government and business entities not currently using U.S. DHS CIS E-Verify system were required to use it, Oregon's unemployment rate would drop dramatically because all new jobs created in the state would go to U.S. citizens or those legally present to work in the country.

Currently more than 2,227 Oregon businesses and government entities are successfully using the 98.6 percent accurate U.S. DHS CIS E-Verify system. Twelve of 36 Oregon county governments are now using E-Verify system (Clatsop, Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook and Washington counties). At least 189 Clackamas County businesses and government entities (city of West Linn, Clackamas Community College, Estacada School District, Gladstone School District No. 115 and Molalla River School District) presently use the E-Verify system.

Clackamas County residents should contact Commissioners Lehan, Damon, Bernard, Lininger, and Savas and ask them to require Clackamas County government use the U.S. DHS CIS E-Verify system so if a job opening becomes available to work for the county a qualified U.S. citizen or foreign citizen legally present with authorization to work in the country can be first in line for that job.

David Olen Cross

Salem

D'Haeze's help is appreciated

To the Editor:

Just a short note of thanks to Dawn d'Haeze and Neighbors Helping Neighbors this fall.

My husband has a little memory situation and isn't in a place where he can help in anyway, so when Dawn came along, we were so thankful for her concern and help for people with our circumstances. So at this time, we thank Dawn and all the wonderful men and women who came to our rescue and made our yard look so great!

Jackie Mathie

Lake Oswego

Disparity between high school classes isn't right

To the Editor:

In regards to Linda Yu's latest 'Laker Notes' column about the disparity between the two high schools, or lack of it, she gets several things wrong. She assumes that Lakeridge kids wouldn't want to take classes such as Political Action Seminar or Advanced Constitutional Law, but I signed up for Advanced Constitutional Law last year and I know other people who also signed up for it.

When I got my schedule, instead of getting Advanced Constitutional Law, I got two study halls and an early release. If I hadn't changed my schedule, I would have been stuck with those classes.

If I had the opportunity to take classes such as Political Action Seminar or AP Government, I would. It's simply not fair that LOHS has classes that are not offered at Lakeridge.

Yu says that Lakeridge and LOHS aren't unequal because LOHS has more students, so they should have more classes, but, on average, Lakeridge students take more classes than LOHS students. The disparity between the classes offered between the two high schools isn't right.

While LOHS has AP Government, Political Action Seminar, Marketing II, Ecology, Psychology II, History of Western Civilization and Advanced Constitutional Law, Lakeridge has none of these classes.

I appreciate Pacer parents, such as the one you disparaged in your column, for speaking up. She was a part of a parent group who had asked the board for information about the disparity months ago but never received any information.

I feel that the board, except for Bob Barman who has done a terrific job standing up for Lakeridge students, simply does not care about this disparity between the high schools. All I want is equality between the two schools so that Pacers have the same opportunities as Lakers. Is that really too much to ask?

Nate Belcik

Lakeridge High School student

Morality and religion are not synonymous

To the Editor:

Calling oneself 'Christian' or calling the holiday tree a 'Christmas tree' does not automatically impart a mindfulness or prudent characteristic of the 'God with us.' Morality and religion are not synonymous. God's demands go beyond legalisms, law, logic. Most lovely things do also.

I found Dave Luck's Citizen View last week a shallow utilization of religion as a currency for political agendas.

Professing Christianity, the Founding Fathers and the early Christian colonists were not granted eyes to treat native peoples or slaves or women as equals despite words attesting to such ('All men are created equal…'). Hideous acts have been committed by some Christians presumptuously thinking they were saving humanity when they were actually motivated by fearful self-preservation.

What drew Jesus' ire more than anything else was the hypocritical obstinacy of those who believed they were 'saved' and 'saviors' of others but did not show a care, a generosity of spirit, a sense of compassion. Actually, (they were) being quite clueless because of an overarching, dominating attitude rather than an 'under'standing.

Dave, I'll join you in a new year's gift of converting the phylacteries and beads of verbal pomposity into silent, constructive actions mindful of the sensitive things and people around us. Then we may just find the ground, the rock, from which to make sense of the issues before us.

Michael Buck

Lake Oswego

Streetcar editorial 'gets it'

To the Editor:

On Dec. 26 Mayor Hoffman thought he had just wrapped up his best Christmas ever, when he reached inside the Christmas stocking he was putting away and found (gasp) a lump of coal. Many Lake Oswego residents thought they had experienced one of their most meager Christmases ever when they, too, received a belated gift. Both gifts came from the same source.

On that day the 'Oregonian' editorial board published an editorial entitled 'Pull the plug on the Lake Oswego Streetcar' (www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/12/pull_the_plug_on_the_lake_oswe.html) The 'Oregonian' has been skeptical of the streetcar for some time (see its editorial dated Dec. 3, 2010, 'A train with a big hill to climb'), but this time it has come down decisively and called for an end to the project.

In the current editorial the 'Oregonian' states, 'And at any price, this project doesn't have what it takes to get something of this magnitude built, namely, a compelling reason to be.' It concludes with, 'It's time to slam on the brakes.'

The 'Oregonian' gets it. Most of the citizens of Lake Oswego get it. Three members of the Lake Oswego City Council get it, but Mayor Hoffman and three other members of the council don't get it. I hope that the mayor and these three councilors get it by May when the advisory vote takes place, but if they don't, three of them whose terms are expiring will surely 'get it' in November.

Greg Nelson

Lake Oswego

Forebears were against Christmas

To the Editor:

Dave Luck proposes that renaming Lake Oswego's 'holiday tree' as a 'Christmas tree' would restore to us our 'historical standards of morality.'

Never mind that our Christian forebears, the Puritans, who presumably established those historical standards of morality, were vehemently anti-Christmas and actually outlawed all mention or recognition of Christmas in Salem, Mass., in 1659. 'Politically correct extremists,' Dave would have called them.

Perhaps next week Dave will further explain how 'the success of our country, from before its formation, is due, in large part, to the values imparted by the dominant religions.'

I'm just hoping he doesn't propose a return to the historical religious practice of burning witches - or people who celebrate Christmas...

Burl Ross

Lake Oswego

City is a community in the 'truest sense of the word'

To the Editor,

My wife, Kate, and I have lived in Lake Oswego for 26 years. We love this city. Recently, we were given just another reason to love it even more.

After a family trip to the Metolius River, we returned home to find several business cards from Lake Oswego Waste Management Supervisor Wayne Benson, with a 'please call' note. Couldn't be good. As it turns out, while our neighbor behind us was having her sewer line replaced, they discovered we shared a common line, with an easement through her property. That line was leaking and needed to be replaced. As I thought … not good. We were told common lines are just that … all too common, yet no longer meeting current plumbing codes.

After contacting Mr. Benson, he came to our home, sat down with us and explained the problem and helped us think through the possible courses of action. Personable, bright and professional, he was supportive through every phase of our project. His crew scoped our existing line, and even supplied the labor and materials for the tie-in to the city sewer service. This was tough work, with extensive jack hammering needed to accomplish the task. It was clear that the city of Lake Oswego's Waste Management Department recognized the hardship of this unforeseen problem and expense and wanted to do their part to solve the problem.

We so appreciate Wayne Benson, his fabulous crew and our great city of Lake Oswego, a community in the truest sense of the word.

Willy Snook and Kate Ingram

Lake Oswego

Generous act gets noticed by all

To the Editor:

Kudos to the staff and management at the Lake Oswego Albertsons on State Street. Patrick Bloedorn, who has been ringing the bell for the Salvation Army with his guide dog for more than a decade in our town, was stationed outside in the parking lot. As the air turned cold and traffic picked up, the manager, Mark, came out and invited him inside to ring the bell in the warmer lobby. I noticed other disabled bell ringers were also allowed to be inside this year. What a great holiday gesture on Albertsons' part! They will certainly hear many positive comments from other shoppers, but I wanted to give my thanks and appreciation as well. Knowing that he and Mary are safe and warm as they do this valuable work is a great holiday gift.

Sarah DeMerritt

Lake Oswego

Names of trees not a priority

To the Editor:

In response to 'Give us a 'holiday' from morality,' I would like to point out to Mr. Luck that while the Bill of Rights does state that 'Congress will make no law respecting an establishment of religion,' the Founding Fathers failed to specify in the Constitution the proper terminology for Christmas trees/holiday trees. Perhaps they had more important things to do. Happy holidays!

Rachel Poutass

Lake Oswego

Freed and Malagamba are welcome reliefs

To The Editor:

Thank you for giving your loyal readers the enjoyable essays by Joan Freed and Sylvia Malagamba in the latest issue of the Review, as well as the occasional wry letter-poems from James Fleming, our de facto local poet laureate. Not only are they well written, they are a lovely contrast to the endless parade of whining letters and op-ed pieces from an apparently dedicated core of city malcontents.

Ronald Talney

Lake Oswego