Letters: Portland has rich 'base ball' club history
Compliments to Stephanie Basalyga on her article ("Diamond in the Rough," Nov. 30) about the current attempt to bring Major League Baseball to the Portland area. It looks as if it actually may become a reality this time around.
Just one historical quibble. Baseball in Portland does indeed go back to the formation of the first recorded Oregon club in Portland in 1866, but the article got the club name wrong. It was the "Pioneer Base Ball Club of Portland," not the "Portland Baseball Club." Note also the two-word spelling of "Base Ball" common at that time.
The Pioneers, organized in June 1866, played their first interclub match Oct. 14, 1866, against the newly formed Clackamas Base Ball Club in Oregon City and won handily 77-45.
The big game day started with a steamboat trip from Portland upriver to Oregon City, where the Pioneers and their friends were met by the Clackamas nine and their fans and treated to a hotel meal before the game.
The match itself was followed by a dinner with toasts and much festivity, ending in a steamboat trip back down the Willamette to Portland, with the victory laurels firmly in the Pioneers' hands.
Within a year there were a dozen or more baseball clubs throughout western Oregon and Washington, with more being formed every week and America's new post-Civil War pastime became solidly entrenched in the culture of the Pacific Northwest.
Let's hope it will blossom here once again as it did in 1866.
Lottery games ruin people's lives
If you have a device or machine that knowingly steals money, should that be allowed to prey on vulnerable members of our society under the guise of entertainment?
That is what the 21st century slot machine is, whether run by the state of Oregon, or a Native American casino, these so-called slot machines or "VLTs," as the Oregon Lottery likes to call them, which stands for video lottery terminals are, a legal license to steal.
Talk to any game designer, and they will tell you the concept of these machines and the way the software is written is to let people think they're winning when they're actually losing, thus creating a euphoric sensation in an addict's mind, until the machines designed to create an exact return on investment for the lottery or the casino breaks the player.
These modern-day slot machines should be banned and removed from bars, restaurants and casinos. They steal money from the poor — which has been proven time and time again — along with the addicts in our society and folks that are just plain bad at math.
Just because it's technically legal doesn't make it right. Ban slot machines that ruin peoples lives every day in our state and across America; it's criminal activity. It's legal thievery hiding behind the concept of entertainment.
Go to any Gamblers Anonymous meeting and see the destructive nature of what a slot machine in this day and age really does. It destroys lives and families, yet the lottery will tell you all the good it does.
Wheeler's re-election is easily assured, unfortunately
Your front-page article on Mayor Ted Wheeler's considerations regarding a second term is funny on its surface (Dec. 4). Wheeler will run and win another four years easily.
There's little or no reason to think otherwise.
First, Wheeler has proven to be a far different individual and politician than the individual who took office over two years ago. Citizens of Portland were led to believe Wheeler would be a more mainstream, politically independent, fiscally responsible elected official than his marginalized predecessors.
Once elected, Wheeler quickly set out to prove the reverse. His pandering to the homeless and anarchists have set the examples of how he sees his duty.
The mayor has demoralized and marginalized the police. Our Portland officers are now a shell of their former selves and this slide promises to continue, as incoming City Council members already have signaled a combative tone toward the police. We lost the mounted patrol, only to gain 12 new quasi-police to further compound the folly.
In a sweeping command statement, Wheeler has promised to make Portland the "cleanest" city in the nation. Each and every person hearing that edict must have doubled over in laughter. Is this Wheeler's idea of profound leadership? Meanwhile, the trash, needles and homeless garbage pile up in ever larger and uglier amounts.
However, Wheeler is a quick read. He knows his words will be accepted and his actions not expected. Accountability is not an issue.
Although I don't fault Wheeler entirely. Portland has been on a devolving trajectory for decades. A continued parade of elected "leaders" have seen fit to be "herd" creatures, each one promising more gifts than Santa Claus, while raising taxes on some and presenting exceptions to others.
Ted Wheeler didn't start the slide toward declining livability. There have been many who have preceded him. However, the Wheeler who citizens of Portland elected to reverse the chaos and broken promises has been a huge disappointment.
Wheeler must know his re-election is assured. The odd dynamic of Portland voters ensures another four years in office. His record will not count, unless he breaks the mold and becomes the leader he once professed to be.
However, this is Portland, and Wheeler (who is a smart politician) knows what he needs to do to rule the city again. Simply do what he's done already, continue to move to the left, and gain more accolades and praise from his liberal supporters.
Taxpayers and those who pay his salary are only marginal and passing concerns. The need to out-promise and outspend his predecessors will somehow make him mayor again.