by: L.E. BASKOW, With bicycles and cars sharing the road more often, such as here on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard during morning rush hour, it’s easy for tempers to flare.

Following Tom Shillock's letter 'Place the onus on drivers, not cyclists' (Insight, Sept. 25), I think something needs to be added to the bicycle debate.

I don't own a motorized vehicle and biking is my only means of transportation. I enjoy and appreciate the very civil climate that tolerant police and drivers have shown me.

This is going to change if some riders, especially young guys, don't calm down and show some consideration to pedestrians and drivers

They run lights and stop signs at night and, if they don't actually cause an accident, they anger drivers.

Sad to say, I believe too many bicyclists will abuse the privileged treatment Portland gives them, and their rude behavior is going to come back eventually - on all riders.

John Denton

Southeast Portland

Economic doldrums give planners time to think

If the paving over of Portland is slowing down, I don't necessarily think of that as a bad thing (Economic slowdown settles into town, Sept. 25).

It might give us a chance to save some of the open lots from becoming new condos in the short term as we rethink where our food comes from. We may need those open lots to grow food on.

Albert Kaufman

Northeast Portland

Hospitals' use of restraints needs impartial monitor

As far as I can see, the only reason hospitals will not reveal their data on restraint use is because they have something to hide (Hospital restraint numbers murky, Sept. 18).

As Beckie Child, president of Mental Health America of Oregon, says, people with mental health issues are still deemed less than others and, believe me, are treated as such.

I have been on both medical and psychiatric floors (such as at Good Samaritan), sometimes as part of the same hospitalization. The difference in treatment from staff on the separate units was like night and day.

On the medical unit, the staff members were incredibly kind, always professional and eager to be helpful. On the psych unit, many of the staff were rude, unprofessional and clearly inconvenienced by my needs.

But even if the hospitals end up having to spill this information, why would anyone believe them?

I mean, the informers are the same people who are under scrutiny. There needs to be an impartial, anonymous agency to monitor the activities of these hospital units.

Child notes that there is so much potential for abuse in the use of restraints; I am afraid that the abuse is both actual and common in psych units and cannot always be measured in something as clear as numbers.

Laura Crabtree

Northeast Portland

ESL system doesn't need fixing; it isn't broken

Personally I think this idea is a further waste of money for our schools (Initiative seeks to ban bilingual classes, Sept. 18).

School is there to teach children to learn, not to force them into speaking English at a rapid pace so that they'll fit in society. The ESL program works fine and, believe it or not, ESL students also pick up the language on the playground and at lunchtime in the high schools.

I believe the ESL classes give the non-English speaking children the closer, one-on-one approach that nurtures the learning of a new language and helps the children feel more secure in their new country.

The thought of destroying the ESL program that has worked well for so long is insane. It's not the teachers who are promoting the children's laziness, it is the children failing to apply themselves.

You're going to get the same thing no matter what, so why use this money to make 'assimilation,' as someone put it previously, a strict necessity, instead of using it for the ailing music programs in schools?

Amanda S. Meyer

Northwest Portland

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