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Dont legislate smokers freedoms away

by: L.E. BASKOW, Patrons of Oregon taverns must now smoke their cigarettes outside and away from entrances to the taverns, including at the Clinton Street Pub in southeast Portland. Letter writers, reacting to a recent Tribune article, offer their opinions on the smoking ban.

The government doesn't have the right to legislate our personal freedoms, no matter how dangerous they are to us (Taverns find surprises from new smoking ban, April 9). I can see protecting minors, sometimes, but to legislate personal freedoms of adults is on par with legislating morality or religion.

I'm a nonsmoker who can't tolerate secondhand smoke, so I don't go to bars and other establishments that allow smoking. It is my choice to do so. But I don't expect smokers to be banned from places - they might as well enjoy what life they have, since it is going to be cut short.

Jean A. Oakes

Battle Ground, Wash.

Stamp out your butts

I wonder if the smokers dropping their butts on the ground are the same ones who toss them out their car window (Taverns find surprises from new smoking ban, April 9)? Both should be ticketed, but at least the sidewalk smokers probably stamp their cigarettes out first. How many grass fires will smokers cause this summer?

Bonnie Hadley

Tigard

Butts should be biodegradable

It's not only bars that are having cigarette litter problems.

Smoking bans on public transportation and in public buildings, apartment buildings and elsewhere are turning the streets of Portland into a giant ashtray (Taverns find surprises from new smoking ban, April 9). You can find many places that look like the photo accompanying your article.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world today and are an environmental hazard. For some reason, people who wouldn't think of littering a candy wrapper or a food carton will litter a butt.

One solution would be a legal requirement that cigarette companies use only biodegradable materials in the manufacturing of cigarettes. But given the power of the cigarette lobby, that's an idea that will go up in smoke.

Eugene Maier

Southwest Portland

Fire safety must be considered

There's also the fire safety aspect of this as well.

Smokers' carelessness has started fires outside and inside apartments (Even smokers want smoke-free housing, April 9), and in a complex or building this is especially critical.

After a charcoal barbecue started a two alarm fire at a Gresham apartment complex, an ordinance was passed banning them in complexes in the city. This fire occurred on one of the hottest days of that summer and required help from other fire departments.

I understand about concerns about preserving liberty and the Constitution, but you must remember that apartment complexes are already private property and owners can set guidelines through the management company.

This is also true about subsidized housing; they can set the rules as needed. This lowers the costs of maintenance, prevents the cost of rebuilding after a fire and protects lives.

Daniel Roberts

Northeast Portland

Corporations must pay their share

These big expenditures out of the state budget mean the average person is carrying a tax burden belonging to corporations ('Green' credits prove spendy, April 9). Oregon used to have a much more progressive tax system. In the 1970s, corporation taxes contributed 16 percent of the general fund. Now, they only contribute 6 percent of the general fund. When is the governor and the Legislature going to wise up? The corporations need to carry their share.

Peggy Salas Woolsey

Treasurer, Tax Fairness Oregon

Salem

The state must set an example

The basis of the article appears to be that the state does not benefit from the tax credits, but it ends up costing taxpayers for buying a hybrid ('Green' credits prove spendy, April 9). Yet, this article doesn't even mention the savings to taxpayers for expenses related to fuel costs.

The Prius (and other hybrids) do cost more up front, but after considerable research and actual use, it has been found to be a significant savings overall.

And don't forget that the state is setting an example for others. If they didn't purchase and use hybrids, there would be more outcry about it than the $259 tax loss discussed here.

Colby McCormick

Southeast Portland

Houses that generate electricity?

Debby De Carlo missed an important point in her Sustainable Life article about smart grids, in that she left out information about household electric meters that can run both ways (Electric grid changes loom, April 9).

In order for all of us to join in the green revolution, we need electric meters that can account for any solar, thermal or wind generation that each household may be or become capable of producing, and have a meter that can account for it. This could potentially make many houses net generators of electricity and restructure how we think about electric utility companies.

It is not enough to just ask each household to use less and pay more for energy use. It is appropriate to expect that consumers can become producers. That is the future.

Rusty Garrison

Clackamas