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Bus Project welcomes all

Naming the Bus Project a winner in the election roundup (Winners, losers beyond the ballot, May 19) inspired a grin on many a volunteer's face. We hope to incubate smart new leaders, and Commissioner Erik Sten's campaign manager and Bus core member Jennifer Yocom certainly deserves the accolade.

However, a clarification is in order: The Bus rallies around common forward-thinking values Ñ education, environment, equal rights, economic fairness, election reform and health care Ñ rather than political party. It's absolutely true that you'll find many a Democrat on the Bus. I'm an Independent, and I share an office with a Republican and a couple more Independents.

In fact, the two races the BusPAC actually supported in the primary weren't Democrats. Both won: Bill Fleenor (an independent for the Lane County Commission) and Dan Hern (in the Republican primary for Douglas County Commission).

The Bus Project also incubates fully nonpartisan programs to engage young voters Ñ including Candidates Gone Wild (a spirited, irreverent debate) and Trick or Vote (the largest single canvass in Oregon history).

We're trying a neither left nor right but forward approach to politics that opens the process to many new minds and hands. One that can appeal to a progressive supermajority. Indeed, that's why we have a Teddy Roosevelt quote on our bus.

Garrett Downen

Bus Project managing director

Southeast Portland

Experience counts most for safe driving

I sympathize with David Munoz's frustration (Higher crash rate's no mystery, Readers' Letters, May 19) at having been rear-ended twice in the past year. Oregon DMV statistics show that tailgating (aka following too closely) is the No. 1 cause of accidents, by far.

Unfortunately, his suggestion that driver's education classes will solve the problem is not supported by research. Most studies show that those who take driver's ed classes are almost as likely to have an accident early in their driving careers as those who don't.

The number of hours a driver logs behind the wheel, whether it is with an instructor or a parent, before getting a license is key. The more hours, the less likely an accident will occur.

The message for parents is to make your teenager 'drive, drive, drive' with someone in the car before they have a license to drive alone.

Bernard Bueffel

Northwest Portland

School tax article missed big picture

While journalists are, in Sgt. Joe Friday's words, supposed to only want 'the facts, Ma'am,' I feel the order of people quoted in your piece tended to present a negative view to readers (District must sell tax to nonparents, May 9).

Where has Concordia resident Michell Hedrick lived for the last 15 years? I dare say the next 95 of the 100 people you will meet on the street were educated in public schools. Grandparents or single people have always outnumbered parents of schoolchildren at any one time. This has always been so.

Oregon is a low state-tax state (see www.census.gov/govs/statetax/05staxrank.html). Oregon ranks 41st, down with South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and Tennessee. I'm not proud of our standing. Washington ranks 17th. 'Nuf said.

Anti-tax activists Bill Sizemore and Don McIntyre have wrecked state services, K-12, higher education, Oregon State Police and many social services.

Businesses moving to Washington have not looked at current tax data.

Guy Lutz

Northeast Portland

Research into sleep behavior is useful

Your article on the sleep research being done by Alfred Lewy was welcome information (Melatonin may be fix for those sad without the sun, May 12).

I have been researching sleep disorders with an individual who was diagnosed 15 years ago as having a bipolar condition. He suspected his problems were caused by a rotating sleep cycle rather than a mental illness but could not find a doctor willing to accept this theory since the medical field does not recognize sleep behavior as a health problem.

For the past year he has been doing his own research, following and tracking his natural sleep cycle, and is now off the mind-altering medications and performing well.

We are excited about Lewy's research and hope to hear more about it.

Verda Spickelmier

Oregon City