December 14, 2012

Letters to the editor: Let our children breathe freely

(Continued from page 1)

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A reader is calling on President Obama to approve tougher new standards for soot pollution from sources such as this coal-fired power plant near Emmett, Kan.

2012 File Photo/The Associated Press

I don't understand what Mr. Rushlau means when he calls Israel a "half-democracy." Even if he doesn't agree with Israeli politics, he should know that all Israeli citizens can vote in Israel, whether they're Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Baha'i or otherwise.

Not only that, non-Jewish citizens can just as well be elected to the Israeli parliament. Arabs currently hold 17 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts, including one who served as Israel's ambassador to Finland and deputy mayor of Tel Aviv.

In 2005, the Israeli government appointed Oscar Abu-Razek, a Muslim, as director general of the Ministry of Interior, the first Arab citizen to become chief executive of a key government ministry. An Arab is also a Supreme Court justice.

Recent news indicates that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is moving to consolidate power. This has essentially given him unchecked power. President Morsi claims this is needed until a new constitution can be written.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how the efforts of the Arab Spring will turn out. I can only hope that true democracy will come to Egypt with equal rights for all citizens, including minorities and those who do not want to be ruled by Sharia law.

Perhaps at this point I would call Egypt the "half-democracy." My optimism is very tempered.

Lee Tabenken


Critics of homeless services less attractive to consumers

The fact that approximately 700,000 people are homeless in the United States is a national disgrace.

The fact that the Portland business community seems to think that to "provide more shelter and services could make the problem worse" is equally appalling ("Portland businesses see more homeless shelters as vicious circle," Nov. 16).

They have stated their desire to "make the city less attractive to homeless people."

Wouldn't it be nice if these businesspeople could find it in their hearts to offer hope, help and employment to those without homes? Instead, they have chosen to make themselves less attractive to consumers who do not wish to support their selfishness.

It's time for the "job creators" to look beyond themselves and truly engage in creating a community that is better for everyone.

Linda Hopkins


City Hall's Saturday hours perk for same-sex couples

One minute after the gay marriage law goes into effect! It certainly didn't take long for the gays to start receiving special treatment.

When is the last time Portland City Hall opened its doors after midnight, and on a Saturday no less, just so a heterosexual couple could obtain a marriage license? Never! No matter what kind of reasoning we could come up with for City Hall to open early, we are made to wait until regular business hours.

City Hall should change their business hours sign on their front door to read "M-F 8-4; Sat. Hrs. (gays only) 12:01-3 a.m." That sounds to me like a special privilege.

Janet Mowatt


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