- Lake Oswego Review - Opinion
Students right to fight curfew law
To the Editor:
I am a student at Lake Oswego High School, which means the young people in the Political Action Seminar class are my peers. I am writing this not only to defend their noble goals, but also to show my disappointment as a student to the letters which described my peer's actions as overindulgent. My peers are practicing their rights as Americans, and to do anything but praise them for their ambition I find is in bad taste.
In preparation for writing this letter, I was told to be polite, so I will try my best to, in a solemn and polite way, show my feelings on the issue; the abolition of unnecessary curfew laws is, presumably, one of the best things to happen to this city by its young people in years and to not see that as a progressive step foreword is taking us a step back. To put it frankly, it's un-American.
To reiterate ideas brought upon my attention recently, curfew laws are for times of martial law. The only reaction the citizens will have if this ridiculous law is not eliminated will be more cases of the law being broken. It may sound melodramatic, but I know that curfew laws let us see a beginning to the suppression of our constitutional rights, and I'm hoping that my peers' valiant efforts will show an end to them.
Marty J Anderson
Look deeper into this whole issue
To the Editor:
Reading last week's Review, I was extremely appalled by several of the letters regarding curfew.
The general outcry from the public against teenagers is indirect, but still very disheartening. It seems to me that many are not angered by the teenagers' requests - but by their ability to seek for what they desire. When I see my fellow students working for any cause, I am proud to be part of the generation that I am a part of.
Unfortunately, many people in our community have the tendency to look down their noses at adolescents - and this situation is no exception.
I urge all members of this community to look past the issue at hand, and look deeper, to the roots: Students working towards change. And deeper still: students taking initiative to have their voices heard.
Parks and Rec staff did wonderful job
To the Editor:
Hello. I am a member of the Lake Oswego Lions Club and my daughter is on a softball team. At the opening tournament this past weekend, April 28th, two of the staff members of the city's Parks and Recreation Staff did a wonderful job.
They went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that needs were met by attendees. When toilet paper ran out in the only two available toilets at about noon, Jean and Julie determined that it was important to solve the problem. One of them then went to a local retailer to purchase some toilet paper while the other one 'held down the fort' in her absence. This is a wonderful example of caring about and serving the community.
So often no one speaks up unless it's with a complaint. I want to commend the Parks and Recreation staff for 'stepping up to the plate' at the softball tournament and making the afternoon much more pleasant for all attendees.
Students should be applauded for effort
To the Editor:
The April 26th issue of the Review had two letters and one 'Citizen's View' column in which the authors expressed dismay at the challenge of the city curfew ordinance by a PAS group from Lake Oswego High School, and the subsequent involvment of the ACLU in filing a lawsuit against the city.
I think these writers have missed a few important points:
No. 1 is where they live! The students are learning a great lesson: If you don't like something here, you have the freedom and the right to work to change it.
No. 2 is that this isn't a 'frivolous, trivial' matter to the kids. While the writers may think this is a waste of the city's time and the taxpayers' money, the students chose and researched an issue that was important to them. Should their idea be dismissed because a few citizens who are disgruntled with the ACLU think it is without merit?
No. 3 is that these kids are the next generation of mayors, council members, senators and representatives. We want them to be thoughtful, responsible, and productive adults. What better way than this to become educated in the workings of their city government?
Whether or not you agree with the ACLU and the causes it supports, this remains a free country. We should all applaud the schools and teachers who encourage such an exchange of ideas and student involvement in politics and issues that affect them. Personally, I would much rather have my tax dollars go to this than a $100 million community center.
A thank you for a good Samaritan
To the Editor:
Earlier this month I accidentally left some cash in the ATM at the A Street Wells Fargo Bank.
A person found the cash, along with the receipt, and returned this money to the bank. The bank couldn't identify this good Samaritan for me, so whoever it is: Thank you very much.
Students have right to protest law
To the Editor:
Responding to criticism of student effort to strike curfew law:
It is always easy for the powerful to discourage and demean the politically weak. In one newspaper our actions have been called juvenile, our concerns labeled as meaningless and been personally characterized as 'overindulged Lake Oswego teenagers.' Luckily there are groups such as the ACLU that stand up for people whom others so easily dismiss.
While we understand concerns about the use of tax dollars, it is important to recognize that we are only asking for the rights given to us by the Constitution. It was never our desire to bring this issue to court. The city council forced us into this action due to their refusal to protect our rights. Mayor Judie Hammerstad and her colleagues could easily end the lawsuit today by striking the ordinance and ending the discrimination against youths in our town.
Mr. Holder's letter (to the editor) asks why we do not also oppose skateboarding rules if we oppose curfew. We reject any analogies between the curfew statute and skateboarding regulations. The right to peaceably assemble is in the Constitution; the right to skateboard is not. When the clock strikes 10:15 p.m., the young in this town are immediately assumed to be criminals. Police officers instantly gain the power to pull us over and arrest us. This is not because we have done something wrong, but because we were out of our houses past a certain time. The curfew law's exception that allows us to be out for purposes of 'entertainment' is so vague, it is impossible for anyone to know whether he or she is violating the curfew law.
It has also been argued that we are not allowed to question an ordinance because it is a law. If a law is unconstitutional to begin with, it needs to be questioned and later eliminated under judicial review.
Others believe that curfew is a rational response when other adults fail to parent correctly. Clearly there are those who do not approve of how other people raise their children, but why trust the police to do a better job? Why trust the benevolence of the state over the decision making of parents?
Kyle Hayes and Paul Trompke
Glad ACLU is there to defend freedoms
To the Editor:
Noel Wolfe's recent letter to the editor attempted to show that the ACLU is at the root of the ills faced by America today. I couldn't disagree more and neither would most Americans who reliably cite the war in Iraq, economic uncertainty, and healthcare as big problems - the ACLU never makes the list.
While Mr. Wolfe sees the ACLU supporting bizarre, unconventional values, he fails to see the principle behind the lawsuits which the ACLU takes. That principle is to defend the civil liberties defined in the Bill of Rights created by the Founding Fathers as well as the additional constitutional amendments added by our nation since its beginnings.
I do not agree with NAMBLA, just as I do not agree with much of what Jerry Falwell says, but the ACLU has defended both of them. But I do most certainly agree with the many freedoms we Americans enjoy and I am glad the ACLU does its best to defend those freedoms.
Projects affecting health should come first
To the Editor:
R.A. Fontes, '10 more thoughts on Safeco,' in the April 19 Review prompts me to write this response.
With at least a $65 million new sewer system in the offing, and the state environmental cops nipping at the heels of the city council and no contract let to begin building the system after four years of indecision and fumbling, leads me to the conclusion that the city council is inept.
In the same issue, the Review reports that the city council will impose water use restrictions on the residents, with overtones of the water police issuing tickets for leaking sprinkler heads and excess flushing. Lake Oswego is awash in water, and there is no shortage of same. There is a shortage of decisiveness on the part of the council, however. Not to have sufficient water treatment facilities, knowing of the increase in population over 10 years, is inexcusable. Conservation is fine, but in this case a Band-aid until 2009 when the council has to make a decision ... Estimated cost is $73 million and up.
The Taj Mahal on Kruse Way, better known as the Safeco building, at last reading was at least a $100 million project. I am not totally against needed expansion of city facilities, but the greater need for public health concerns should take priority.
Most of us are aware that government projects seldom come in on schedule and within costs. Collectively, the above projects may run between $300 to $400 million before they are completed.
The sewer system should be top priority with the water treatment project a close second. Both affect public health. The Safeco project affects no one except the ego of city officials and should be suspended and perhaps sold.
There is a need for leadership on the city council, the ability to plan for future needs and to make decisions. In this regard the council has demonstrated its shortcomings to the determent of the residents, burdening them potentially with ever larger tax bills.
Funds missing for staff position, natural areas
To the Editor:
On Monday April 16, 2007, the first Citizens' Budget Committee meeting was held. At this meeting, the proposed budget for 2007-2009 was presented. Missing from this proposal, are any support funds for the one staff position dedicated to the maintaining the natural areas owned by the city of Lake Oswego. No line items are listed for needed materials, equipment or additional staff to help removed invasion species and perhaps dead trees that are formed when non-natural plant species such as English ivy are left to spread into our natural areas.
The Iron Mountain Natural Area is in critical need of a plan. As the ivy and other invasives spread, more of the natural undergrowth will be eliminated. As these plants and ivy-covered trees die, the dead material has a high kindling potential. A request for $80,000 to begin work on this area was left out of the budget. A couple of years ago, goats were put into the area and they removed a lot of the undesirable plants. However, without follow up, these plants will come back.
The citizens of Lake Oswego have approved the purchase of our natural areas through several bond issues. This shows that green space is important to our community. Two years ago at the second citizens' budget meeting, several community members spoke in regard for the need to have in the budget, more money for natural area maintenance. The members of the committee agreed that there was a need but no funds available for this. It was indicated that the issue might be addressed in the next budget cycle. However, at this point, there is nothing included in the proposed budget.
City funds are used to maintain our streets, our recreational parks and city buildings. Some funds also need to be allocated to maintain our natural areas.
Vehicles, people a bad mix on Boones Ferry
To the Editor:
I was walking to the Albertsons store here on Boones Ferry Road at around 3:30 in the afternoon! And when I was walking on the sidewalk where the barber shop and Albertson's store are when a car in traffic sped up right before I crossed.
I am wondering why do we have speed signs and traffic lights and stop signs here on Boones Ferry Road and also Reese Road when the people don't even pay attention to them? I think that all the of the Boones Ferry Road area should be a no cell phone use area when driving a car. People have taken the use of the cell phones for granted. I thought that they are only used for only emergencies only. And also on Reese Road there may not be a lot of traffic. But please, when there are school buses loading and unloading kids, be more patient. And also I thought that the stop sign means stop. Not stop and roll when going through the stop sign. This has got to stop.