by: Jim Clark, Pedro Ferbel-Azcarate, a Portland State University professor, selects stones for a cob bench that was constructed at PSU as part of City Repair Project's recent Village Building Convergence. A reader praises the group's efforts in making places where people can connect.

Your June 13 issue provided an interesting juxtaposition. The front-page profile of City Repair's Village Building Convergence showed an organization's ongoing project to end isolation among neighbors by building spaces for people to establish contact and community (King Cob).

On the next page was a story about difficulties in a car-centric part of the West Hills where pedestrians can't even walk safely (Trail access frustrates walkers). Here, too, residents block pathways with fences, bushes and rocks, sealing themselves off and preventing community from forming.

We are a society increasingly fearful not of terrorists and threats from abroad, but of one another. And this is very sad.

Jim Waigand

Northeast Portland

TriMet's shelter planborn of arrogance

If TriMet were deliberately trying to turn most Portlanders into antigovernment partisans it could not be doing a better job than it is now with its action concerning the downtown transit mall (TriMet shelter plan challenged, June 13).

The agency's bullying determination to push through its gratuitous and lengthy disruption of the present scene in pursuit of the unneeded light-rail extension is bad enough. Now we see that, bowing to self-serving business interests and under the pseudo-guise of security, it plans to inconvenience its potential riders as much as possible with widely separated and inadequate bus shelters.

One can nearly despair of a bureaucracy so remote from what should be its real concerns.

James Shand

Southwest Portland

Story played downthe majority view

I object strongly to your negative spin on Mayor Tom Potter's brave and popular stand against the FBI's efforts to spy on our democratically elected City Council (Potter's reply to FBI inquiry stirs up city, May 26).

You distorted your own statistics in order to shore up what appears to be your bias. The news is that by the next morning around 60 percent of visitors to Potter's official Web site had sided with Potter; your choice to phrase this in terms of the fewer than 40 percent who supported the FBI was disingenuous - and lousy reporting.

Emerald Goldman

Southeast Portland

Beliefs stand in way of professionalism

I wonder how long Dr. Bill Toffler would last at Oregon Health and Science University if he were a vegetarian and counseled all his patients to stop eating meat (Doctor's ethics run counter to hospital policy, April 21)?

Or if he believed in gemology and prescribed gem therapy before proven medical procedures? Or if he believed humans were being observed by aliens and required his patients to wear tinfoil hats while they go to their MRIs? Or if he believed female patients should wear burkas?

When personal beliefs stand in the way of professionalism and the common good, especially in the health-care field, then they actually become dangerous. People tend to excuse motivations based on Christian beliefs as somehow the exception to the rule, but they are not. I believe all patients should receive access to the care they want and need, regardless of what the doctor may hold dear.

I also believe vegetarians probably shouldn't work in a butcher shop.

Clark Hays

Northwest Portland

Bus illegal aliens back to their homes

Here's an alternative idea for that $290,987 gift from the federal government to the county in 2005: Gas up those green sheriff's department buses and zoom those criminal illegal aliens right back to their family villages (Jail costs add up for illegal immigrants, June 9).

Or consider turning them over to Mexican federales: Their brand of justice would be a real deterrent to criminal illegal aliens' return to the United States.

BetteLynn Johnson

Southwest Portland

School district keeps making bad choices

The recent changes in our schools are unfortunate (Six schools, one has to go, May 5). Most citizen input was ignored, and students may well suffer. Poorly researched, pie-in-the-sky change for the sake of change is not smart. There are other options to consider beyond closing schools and reducing resources and opportunities for students. What's the rush?

Administrative mismanagement already has cost critical funding. The arrogant firing of custodians and retention of redundant administrative functionaries are misuses of scarce funds. Schools should be run like public service organizations rather than emulating inappropriate corporate models.

Cutting health-care benefits for hardworking teachers is nothing to boast about. This can only result in more illnesses, absences and costs. We should be investing in our teachers, rather than putting them at risk.

Increasing class sizes and reducing curriculum choices can only hurt our kids. Our students should come first, rather than suffering according to whimsical choices driven by administrative hubris.

Instead of shuffling kids from one school to another, our administrators need to address the real problem. Six of 10 students who graduate cannot read or write at a college level. Solutions will not be found in closures, disruptions and redundant testing.

We must give teachers, students and taxpayers more input, support and respect. Teachers get the job done, students suffer by our mistakes, and taxpayers pay the bills. We need long-term solutions instead of short-term polemics and happy talk.

Tim Flanagan

Northeast Portland

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