It has been sad to read the acrimonious diatribes spewing from the pens of some very unhappy people in West Linn.

I had considered responding to their letters to the newspapers but felt that it only lent credence to their posturing, and I didn't want to give them any more attention than they had already demanded.

But yesterday a neighbor asked me if our city was falling apart. She had read the letters in the newspapers and was worried about what was happening to our city.

Then I knew I could not sit back and let the argumentative few speak louder than the voices of reason.

As co-chair of the Willamette Neighborhood Association, I received an e-mail from the city council regarding some changes suggested by city staff requesting our feedback.

The officers of the WNA had a meeting and we went over the proposed changes, line by line, and responded with our thoughts to the city.

Nothing in any of the correspondence from the city indicated that these changes would be made without a great deal of further discussion with the neighborhood associations.

There was a great flurry of e-mail from several negativists, accusing city council members of trying to take away ' our rights' (and making sure that copies of their opinions were sent to the newspapers).

These people have made great noises in an attempt to convince everyone that they are going to save West Linn from itself.

West Linn had great damage done by a former politician who thought he knew just what we needed and who was convinced that he was the only person who could solve our 'problems.' The citizens and city staff are still trying to recover from that financial and emotional loss.

I, for one, am tired of people who do not understand what it means to have meaningful dialogue and exchange of ideas.

The 10th Street Traffic Task Force is a wonderful example of people from all areas of the community getting together to share ideas in order to solve an immediate problem. Of course, we don' t all agree, but this is one city group where each is respectful of others' opinions, and we are getting a great deal accomplished.

To those who believe you know better than anyone else, please use your considerable energies for good and not for stirring the pot of contention. I would like to find something in your actions to respect.

Alice Johansson is a West Linn resident and is co-chair of the Willamette Neighborhood Association.

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