The opinion piece 'Gambling will mean big losses for everybody' (April 4), made me wonder if conscientiousness can be a problem. Life itself is a gamble, and we can become addicted to any aspect of it Ñ work, eating, fasting, sex, prayer, computers, sports, even education.

Addiction can cause problems, but fearing gambling is also a problem. Every moment of every day is different, which results in uncertainty, or a gamble, but if this were not true, daily certainty would bore us too much to endure.

Some religious people oppose games, and I suppose they could be considered a waste of time, but are very serious activities more virtuous, such as war? I prefer pleasant activities, such as card games at home. Fun uplifts the spirit, and gathering together at church to play seems appropriate.

Paying taxes voluntarily through gambling games seems more pleasant and easier than filling out tax forms, and it provides hope for a windfall. If the game is too easy, quick and addictive, make it more challenging and constructive. Games can teach important lessons. For example, games can be viewed as problems that are fun to solve, so why fear the problems in life that are actually more relevant, meaningful and rewarding to solve?

Sharon Joy

Northwest Portland

Polls find Oregonians

oppose higher beer tax

A business brief states that 'observers both for and against the measure (to raise the beer tax) believe Oregon voters would approve the so-called 'sin tax' ' (Beer tax will reappear if rejected by legislators, April 11). That statement is incorrect.

The Oregon beer industry believes very strongly that voters would reject any of the outrageous beer tax proposals currently before the Legislature. (Beer tax benefits budget, health, Insight, April 22.) We have been polling the issue for the last few years, and the results are consistent. The '10 cents a drink' proposal is an increase in the beer tax from the current $2.60 per barrel to about $36, an increase of about 1,300 percent. The lesser proposal of a 7 cent increase takes the tax rate to about $26 per barrel, an increase of about 1,000 percent. Both fail by double-digit margins in our polls.

The beer tax is not a drink tax. It is an excise tax that is placed on the product at the manufacturing or wholesaling level. The tax then is 'marked up' by the manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer, so an excise tax that equates to 10 cents per 12 ounces at the production level becomes about 20 cents to the consumer. It is a poor way to tax because the consumer pays extra money just to raise the tax.

The national brewing companies can spread an Oregon excise tax over their entire national distribution system, but the poor Oregon brewer must pass the tax on to the Oregon consumer only. The beer excise tax increase will not pass the Oregon Legislature for the same reason that it would not be passed by the Oregon voter. It is a bad idea that punishes a wonderful Oregon industry.

Paul Romain

Oregon Beer & Wine

Distributors Association

Southwest Portland

New restaurant

deserves fair shake

I'm responding to a review of a new Lebanese restaurant in Portland, Vine Leaves, which has only been open a few months (A taste for adventure, March 28).

Realizing that writers have to be objective while giving their own opinions of the restaurant, I believe this writer was either intent on doing a 'hatchet job' on the restaurant or is terribly uninformed about Middle Eastern cuisine.

It was really very difficult to follow the intent of her criticism. Was it the dŽcor of the restaurant or the food? If the food, was it the Lebanese food or the American-style food?

In particular, she raved about the kafta while criticizing the shrimp and halibut. The latter are not really Lebanese food and only on the menu I suspect for diners who want 'American style food.'

She criticized the yogurt and cucumbers as having too few cucumbers when the dish is made primarily of yogurt, with a touch of cucumber for taste.

As a Lebanese-American who grew up eating Lebanese food and who frequents the many wonderful Lebanese restaurants in Portland, I consider myself reasonably informed about good Lebanese cuisine, and I think this writer did a new and excellent Lebanese restaurant a terrible injustice in her comments.

R.L. 'Bud' Abraham


Law, ethics zip

tax preparers' lips

I enjoyed your business column on the amount of data that we tax preparers know about our clients (Tax returns reveal more than you think, April 11).

However, one very salient fact was omitted from the column: Tax preparers are required to keep their mouths shut about all these details. Our silence about our clients isn't a nicety we provide just because we're an ethical bunch (although most of us are). It's a requirement of our profession.

The Tribune needs to make this very clear to its readers.

Joan Horton, CPA

Southwest Portland

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