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Community colleges continue to lose funding from the state

To the Editor:

Once again the Legislature is furthering the deterioration of Oregon's community colleges and higher education system. The newly released Ways and Means Co-Chairs' budget does little to reverse the six-year slide in state support for higher education. These reductions have resulted in lost opportunity for thousands of Oregon students, and this new budget level doesn't begin to restore those losses. We need a strong K-12 school system; but if public community colleges and universities can't offer the courses and programs students need, at the price they can afford, where will our high school graduates go?

I hope the Legislature reconsiders this budget, finds revenue to fund needed programs and services at all levels of education and begins to rebuild what was once a world-class education system in this state.

Preston Pulliams

District President

Portland Community College

A moment of silence for fallen trees of the First Addition

To the Editor:

I applaud the city of Lake Oswego for its endorsement and promotion of Arbor Week, now upon us.

My personal observation will include a moment of silence in memory of those trees removed from my First Addition neighborhood - well in excess of 50 in the last year - by city-issued permit.

Margaret Ward

Lake Oswego

Isn't it still a slide area, even though there's no sign?

To the Editor:

We've lived off South Shore since l975. Maybe 15 years ago there was a 'Slide Area' sign on the uphill side of South Shore maybe a half mile away from the intersection of Greentree Road and South Shore ... going towards Palisades Terrace.

It was a big slide that we saw, which resulted in the sign, etc. All of a sudden, the sign is removed and a large 'For Sale' sign has been put in its place.

Come on now ... that is still a slide area. Maybe the city of Lake Oswego sign is gone but you can't tell me that hillside didn't slide years ago. Highway 26 is prone to slides ... someone determined this hill was prone to sliding, otherwise the city wouldn't have erected a sign. Someone better check this out ...

Chris Utter

Lake Oswego

Safeco building isn't the only empty space in Lake Oswego

To the Editor:

Based upon your reportings, it is clear the previous estimates to update our sewer have escalated with undoubtedly even more costs to come. Furthermore, the city of Lake Oswego faces major water capacity issues that will substantially increase homeowner fees. Therefore, I offer the following appeal:

Isn't it time our city leadership admit the folly of the Safeco building purchase and give up on this costly and unnecessary project so that the basic infrastructure of our beloved burg is given top priority? Frankly, the notion that the Safeco building represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity simply does not ring true - there is a building sitting empty on the edge of Lake Grove (the former Wild Oats grocery store) that is but one example of this absurd assertion.

Secondly, why is $300,000 used as the basis for an average assessment when increases in fees are calculated? Take a look at the real estate listings in this newspaper and note how many properties reflect such a price. The truth is that between sewer and water, many homeowners will be facing thousands of dollars in increased fees as these critical infrastructure needs are addressed. What happened to the group concerned with affordable housing within our city limits?

It's popular for the rest of the greater Portland area to poke fun at good old Lake Oswego. Why adopt inane policies that only reinforce the stereotype that we are a bunch of moneyed, clueless, self-indulgent boobs? A popular bumper sticker seen about the state reads, 'If you're not totally appalled, you're not paying attention!' The future actions of our leadership will determine whether or not that particular edict is subject to revisionism as it relates to our mayor and city council.

Rick Petry

Lake Oswego

Urge legislators to temporarily

suspend Measure 37

To the Editor:

I'm writing in response to Lauri Hein's citizen's view column in last week's Review titled 'Measure 37 will generate taxes.'

We live at a time where the sustainability of our way of life is in doubt. The problems of global warming, peak oil, pollution, food security, traffic congestion and the limited supply of clean water demand that we work together to avoid environmental disaster. Measure 37 drastically shifts the balance away from the ability of our society to plan for sustainability towards the abilities of individual property owners to reap short term gains. I believe that the negative effects of Measure 37 greatly outweigh the benefits of increased taxes that would be generated. If Measure 37 remains in effect without modification, it will hurt all of us, including the children and grandchildren of those property owners who believe they will benefit.

I'm aware of the problems that excess government regulation by a rigid bureaucracy can impose upon people, so I sympathize with property owners who wish to make minor improvements, such as building a single-family dwelling or two on their rural land. I believe it was anger caused by restrictions preventing this type of development that sparked the passage of Measure 37.

However, I do not believe that the voters envisioned large tracts of rural land being converted into subdivisions, strip malls or gravel pits. My belief is supported by a recent public opinion poll suggesting that 61 percent of the voters now favor repeal or modification of Measure 37.

Please urge the Legislature to temporarily suspend Measure 37 and then to modify it to take account of the legitimate desires of property owners to build one or two single family dwellings on their lands, but to prevent the large-scale developments that constitute the majority of the current claims. The Legislature should then refer the modified law to the voters.

Mike Litt

Lake Oswego

'We remain minutemen and women today' in the U.S.

To the Editor:

Last week, an aide to Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb was arrested for 'unknowingly' carrying a loaded handgun into Congress. As it turns out, elected officials are privileged to carry loaded handguns in Washington, D.C.

A national commentator opined that the powerful have more privileges than the common folk. Whereas residents of D.C. are not even allowed to own firearms to defend their own homes. The violent crime rate in D.C. is extremely high.

In Clackamas County every qualified resident can obtain a concealed weapons permit after passing an approved class and having a background check performed by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, a fact not widely known by Lake Oswego residents.

The Second Amendment was drafted with the knowledge that all governments, both foreign and domestic, could become so powerful as to violate basic human rights of its citizens, not just those enumerated in our preamble.

Our forefathers believed that the 'right to bear arms' extended to most every citizen. We remain minutemen and women today. The 'right to bear arms' is one of the most fundamental rights Americans enjoy. And, although some may argue that in a perfect world firearms may not be necessary, mankind has never existed in that perfect world.

Because criminals understand that Oregon citizens could be armed, it may be that everyone is just a bit more civil towards each other here in the west.

Noel R. Wolfe

Lake Oswego

Here's a war question: 'Why can't we learn from history?'

To the Editor:

In discussions of the war in Iraq, we frequently hear of the 3,300 American combat deaths and perhaps 30,000 wounded of a military force of about 150,000 which has lasted now more than four years.

One should recall that the Algerian War lasted from 1954 to 1962. In that eight-year period, France deployed 400,000 troops, suffered 8,000 combat deaths and 85,000 wounded. At the same time, Algeria lost more than 141,000 combatants dead, while estimates of civilian deaths by both sides were more than 1 million, including men women and children.

After all that, France gave up and gave Algeria its independence. While the two examples had far different motivations, the futility of trying to reshape the lives of the people of a nation should be obvious.

What a terrible waste. Why can't we learn from history?

Joseph R. Proctor

Lake Oswego

Correction: In a citizen's view last week, Barry Hasson was identified as the owner of a realty business in Lake Oswego. Hasson, a contractor, does not own a realty business.