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Letters to the Editor for March 30

Orchestra appreciates compliments

Dick McQueen's very gracious compliments for Gresham's Mt. Hood Pops Orchestra in his letter 'Music that brings everyone together,' were very welcomed.

Beside the huge investment in time and energy that he mentions, most people are not aware that this orchestra in funded by relatively small private donations and contributions of local companies, individuals, fundraisers and even the members themselves, with no help from the government. Our survival depends on ticket sales to those, like Mr. McQueen, who come to hear us.

The orchestra's concerts cost more than people think: music scores, conductor fees, rehearsal and performance fees, staging, mailings, to name just a few of the costs. At the beginning of every concert season, we begin to count our pennies in the hope that we will be able to pay the bills and complete the season one more time. People wishing to donate can call 503-669-1937.

Ken Stine

Trombonist

Gresham

Campaign spending too much for candidates

The Oregon and U.S. Supreme Court's decisions that citizens' constitutional rights to free speech would be denied by laws limiting campaign spending have allowed wealthy individuals, special interest groups and big corporations to control elections and make running for office prohibitive.

I feel the obscene amount of money spent on election campaigns could be put to better use and that only candidates who are well funded by special interests or very wealthy individuals can afford to run. Even incumbent politicians complain that they must spend most of their time fundraising to be re-elected.

We all value free speech but get very tired of the constant barrage of campaign mail, telephone calls, TV and radio ads, etc., that seem to waste vast sums. The negative, hateful campaigning is most repugnant and costly.

This sometimes backfires against those candidates who use it, but unfortunately often those with the most money to spend get elected. This system also denies citizens the chance to get fair, truthful and objective information needed to be an informed voter and elect the best qualified people to run our government in a way to protect the interests of all citizens, not just the powerful and wealthy.

I do not vote for candidates who waste money on negative, expensive campaigns. But too often such campaigning is done by anonymous persons or groups that put out ads and materials under misleading, mysterious committee names, parties or funds that conceal their real identity and are meant to confuse the voter.

Rep. Greg Matthews has a bill in the hopper to limit campaign spending. It may not get a hearing in a committee. He has another bill in the hopper to make those who pay for such campaign materials list their real identities. He is on the right track, and I hope at least the second bill is refined in committee, has a hearing and is ultimately passed. There must be some way to protect free speech, rein in campaign costs and insure votes are given valid information. It is ridiculous to spend millions, even billions in state and national election campaigns while we have people hungry and out of work.

Phyllis K. Barbour

Troutdale

Land-use appeals under attack by Legislature

Oregon's land-use system has protected thousands of acres of world-class farmland, rural jobs and the quality of life for all Oregonians. Should the following three bills pass the Legislature, Oregon's system of citizen involvement, including the ability to appeal illegal land-use decisions, would be undermined.

House Bill 2181 would make citizens who appeal local land use decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) liable for attorney fees of the prevailing party if they lose their case, even when LUBA acknowledges that the case had merit. HB 2181 would shut down virtually all citizen land-use appeals by raising the stakes for ordinary citizens who want to stand up to illegal land-use decisions being made in their communities.

HB 2182 is an elitist proposal that reserves access to LUBA for the rich. It would change current law so that opponents to a land-use decision must either be an adjacent landowner or be required to pay a large deposit to bring a case before LUBA.

HB 2610 would establish that for housing and industrial land-use decisions within the urban growth boundary-and for aggregate mining anywhere-appeals to LUBA may only be brought by individuals who either own, rent or lease property within 1,000 feet or can show their property would be adversely affected economically by $5,000 or more.

Please take a few minutes of your time to protect our environment. Just call or email the co-chairs of the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. Wayne Krieger (503-986-1401) and Jeff Barker (503-986-1428) and tell them you oppose these bills.

Marlene Byrne

Gresham

Story on death of little girl gave her a voice

This beautiful little girl who lived such a tragic and short life ('Brief picture of joy hides a horrible secret' in the March 19 Outlook) was given something by this writer (Mara Stine) from The Outlook, which her horrific, despicable so-called 'parents' never did - dignity and a voice.

These 'parents' should be charged with torture and first-degree murder, and those who stood by and did nothing, knowing how this child was suffering, are just as guilty as they are.

Lisa Hurley

Geneva, Switzerland

Not leaving the kitchen despite the heat

Stephen Strom suggested in Saturday's Outlook 'if Gemelli can't stand the heat, he should leave the kitchen.'

Au contraire - I love educators. My three daughters are education, one has a Ph.D., one has a master's degree and one has a Bachelor of Science degree.

I resent my taxes being used unwisely. Explain why responsible taxpayers foot the bill for irresponsible students and their loans, loans provided by taxpayers. These delinquent students subsequently leave Mt. Hood Community College $500,000 in uncollectable debt that again becomes taxpayers' responsibility.

Democratic free speech at Mt. Hood is an absolute right, as well as Republican free speech. It is not a one-way street. However, when a guest opinion is tainted by an activist working for the democratic consulting firm 'Forward Support,' her moral obligation is to disclose the connection.

Following my previous letter, 'Forward Support' denied access to their website and quickly shut down their website. This closure would not have occurred if the college activist was truly speaking from her heart on behalf of college students without a political agenda promoted by the 'Forward Support' group. Mr. Strom, I will not have my free speech abrogated by your suggestion that I 'leave the kitchen' simply because a little 'heat' is coming my way.

Thomas Gemelli

Fairview