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letters - June 23, 2011

Merkley commended for troop withdrawal stand

To the Editor:

Sen. (Jeff) Merkley (D-Oregon), should be commended for signing a letter with 26 other senators asking President Obama to make a 'sizable and sustained' reduction of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

President Obama is scheduled to make a decision soon on how many troops to pull out.

Our senator joined with colleagues to say, 'We urge you to follow through on the pledge you made to the American people to begin redeployment of U.S. forces from Afghanistan this summer.'

President Obama should heed this message and announce a major drawdown in forces from Afghanistan.

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is the longest in our history, surpassing even the Vietnam War. We are in a quagmire with no end in sight.

The U.S. is mired in a civil war where the government has little legitimacy, the military situation is stalemated and the political and economic situation remains dismal.

President Obama should keep his promise and start winding down the war with a major troop withdrawal beginning in July.

Ken Sarnowski

Lake Oswego

'Credible base of facts needed' on Luscher plan

To the Editor:

The Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Advisory Board met June 15 to present its final draft of the master plan for Luscher Farm.

I am writing to voice a concern I have on a process issue. I asked at the meeting for an explanation of the 'needs assessment.' Specifically did we have a population-based study listing how many parks, athletic fields, community gardens, commercial farms and natural areas with trails we should have in an area of our size? No evidence was presented to indicate this has been done.

MIG, Inc, the contracted group selected to develop the master plan, clearly stated the master plan was the result of a 'wish list' developed over several meetings with approximately 500 interested individuals from the area. It was not based on any credible population study of needs. If the parks committee has the information that this was done otherwise then they should answer the questions of how this area compares with national statistics on parks, athletic fields, community gardens, commercial farms and natural areas with trails. Does the master plan as presented meet national standards? I suggest the committee consider commissioning one of the local university's urban studies department to evaluate Lake Oswego's needs on a population basis?

The master plan as presented was highly controversial at this meeting. Granted the city of Lake Oswego will make the final decision on a political basis as all representative governments do, but I hope the study process will at least give them a credible base of facts to work with in committing city funds rather than a 'wish list' of needs of a very small proportion of the community.

Nick Orfanakis

Lake Oswego

'Implications are chilling'

To the Editor:

Mayor Jack Hoffman does NOT want you to vote on the streetcar transit project.

As Councilor Olsen wrote in her (column last week), 'It's time to ask voters about the streetcar.' Because of overwhelming opposition to the streetcar project, the mayor without consulting his own city council has taken it upon himself to ask the Clackamas County Commission to postpone its decision on the Lake Oswego to Portland Transit Project.

This mayor defies the unanimously approved requirement for a public survey about the streetcar.

If you are not aware of the implications that the implementation of streetcar have to Lake Oswego becoming a 'smart growth zone' for stacked and packed sustainable development in Foothills then you are missing the mayor's (weltanschauung) world view. No streetcar (means) no Foothills.

We are going to have a referendum next November on the future direction of Lake Oswego. Will we preserve our small upscale beauty with superior police, fire and public schools that we love about our town? Or, become a UN Agenda 21 model for smart sustainable growth with highly concentrated human settlement zones where individual rights must take a back seat to the collective. The implications are chilling.

Charles M Collins

Lake Oswego