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Apply out-of-staters taxes to roads

Letter writer Wendell Cunningham bemoans Washington-state drivers who 'clog up the roads we Oregonians pay for' (Readers' Letters, Dec. 23).

While I am certain there are Washingtonians who drive on our roads who don't pay taxes to Oregon, the majority of those drivers you spot in the Portland area do, in fact, pay Oregon income taxes on wages they earn here. In fact, if Clark County, Wash., were an Oregon county, it would be the sixth or seventh highest, of 36 counties, in the income tax revenue produced.

Several years ago, I asked the Oregon Legislature to dedicate a portion of Clark County residents' annual Oregon income taxes to road maintenance in the metropolitan area. At that time, there were approximately 25,000 Clark County residents paying about $60 million a year to Oregon. Since the major impact these residents have is on our road system, I thought some of those dollars should come directly back to the metro area for that purpose.

The Legislature refused to act on the measure.

I still think this is one way to at least ease the road ills in the metro area. As it is, the metro area is a net loser in the tax picture, with more money going to other parts of the state than it gets back.

Since the Portland area feels their impact the most, we should get a portion of the taxes Washington residents pay to the state.

Mike Burton

Metro executive officer, 1995-2003

Southwest Portland

Would mug shot run if accused were white?

Could someone there please tell me what you hoped to accomplish in publishing Robert Larry's mug shots (Local NAACP leader indicted, Dec. 23)? Was it supposed to tell us he was guilty? 'Look! He has a mug shot! He must be a criminal!'

I'm working hard to remember the last time I saw a mug shot of a white boy in the paper, and you know, they're just real hard to come by, especially if that white boy happens to be an official in a respected community organization.

It was also interesting to see Larry's 6-year-old referred to as 'his minor son.' Yeah. Everybody I know plans and executes a kidnapping with his 'minor son' in the booster seat in the back. What a crock.

I look to you, my favorite paper, for my weekly dose of truth serum, not for racially biased slant. Try to remember that being accused does not make you guilty, even if you are black, and even if you have an ongoing dispute with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Anitra Cameron

Northeast Portland

City failed public on New Year's Eve

The Portland city commissioners' casual dismissal of support for the annual New Year's Eve program in Pioneer Courthouse Square caused great disappointment in the public that filled the area in the last minutes of 2005.

While the decision to continue to support the Portland Schools Foundation's First Run/Walk was admirable, both the race and the Pioneer Courthouse Square New Year's celebration have coexisted in years past. Why wasn't the budget for the celebration reduced and made to rely further upon sponsors rather than canceling an annual Portland tradition?

The registration tent set up for racers and their companions was empty and poorly placed because runners were at the starting line blocks away at midnight.

As our group walked away from the most melodramatic entrance to a new year ever, we remarked upon how sad it was that our city wouldn't trouble itself to support its public in celebrating something as basic as New Year's Eve.

Robert Banagale

Northwest Portland