The article comparing crash statistics between Portland and Seattle cited as a possible reason Californians' involvement (Crash stats stump transit experts, May 9). It is really too bad that we Oregonians are still trying to make Californians a scapegoat for our problems.

I have been rear-ended two times in the past year on major highways here. I have to note that the cause was excessive tailgating, followed by allowing inadequate space to brake.

Maybe if we followed California's design and required students to enroll in drivers education Ñ and pass the classes Ñ before issuing a driver's license, we would all be better off.

In fact, some things addressed in drivers education that need to be taught here are:

• Leaving an out,

• Merging and lane changing,

• Leaving 10 feet of space between your car and the car in front of you for every 10 mph of speed being driven.

These are among the most often faulted driving habits of the uneducated driving public and appear to be the norm for the Oregon driver.

I think that we could all do better to learn better driving habits and to stop blaming Californians for our problems.

David Munoz

Woodland, Wash.

Physician should stick to his beliefs

I just read your article about Dr. Bill Toffler at OHSU (Doctor's ethics run counter to hospital policy, April 21) and support his principled stand. He should not be made to do what he believes is morally wrong.

As a registered nurse myself, I understand his dilemma.

Joann Cooper

Cedar Mill

Columnist disregards free speech

In a column about Schumacher Furs & Outerwear, Phil Stanford wrote that Portland police 'should at least give some lip service to protecting a business' (On the Town, March 31).

Is Stanford saying it's the responsibility of law enforcement agencies to 'protect' privately owned economic enterprises against citizens who use public property to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech?

He apparently would divert publicly funded police away from serving the public, by assigning police to mollify private business owners. But if officers are watching people legally express themselves outside a retail store, they simply are not available to arrest criminals such as the drug dealers, drunken drivers and thieves victimizing average citizens.

Also, to extend Stanford's line of reasoning, does he want police to get tough on protesters trying to close down porn shops in their neighborhoods? In Beaverton, pro-lifers pray the rosary near an abortion clinic: Does Stanford want them arrested?

When union members go on strike to fight for better pay and benefits for their families, their picket lines definitely are intended to disrupt 'business as usual'; does Stanford want police to 'protect' business owners from them?

Constance Ewing

Lake Oswego

Protesters have right to put out message

I have been following the Schumacher Furs controversy (Landlord jumps into fur fight, April 4) with great interest. I am a firm believer in many things, not the least of which is minimizing cruelty in the world. As a consequence, I support and applaud the efforts of the anti-fur protesters.

Another thing I support is free speech. The Portland Business Alliance claims its members are 'horrified' with suggestions the fur store should move. They seem quite capable of overcoming this horror when an adult bookstore, big-box development or other 'morally unsavory' business is invited to leave neighborhoods.

Protesting is a time-honored and constitutionally protected form of expression used by many to quantify displeasure with the status quo. The Schumachers sell fur, as is their right; the protesters choose to shine a light on the Schumachers' cruelty and discourage patronage, as is their right.

Clark Hays

Northwest Portland

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