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Readers share their thoughts on legal gambling and the Columbia River Crossing and other state projects.

Gambling's new face is just as ugly as the old one

It's amazing the difference a few decades can make.

In the '40s, '50s and well into the '60s, bars and bowling alleys would house and operate illegal slot machines and pin ball machines that paid out real money. Sometimes these devices were in backrooms, sometime right out in front and in plain view for everyone to see.

Fast forward to today and the past 20 years. Video slot machines and video poker machines, which are a license to legally steal money, are front and center at any restaurant with a beer and wine license, and machines lined up by the hundreds legally in Native American casinos in Oregon and across the country.

Oh how things are different but the same in just a handful of years. The only difference now is the government and the Native American tribes are running the show with the license to to steal, they ran all the little guys out, and this is what you have left. As long as the government gets to steal the money, I guess it's OK. What a world. But is it really OK, knowingly stealing money through predetermined, pre-programmed slot machines? No, it isn't, it's still a crime — just like in the "old days."

James Maass, Beaverton

A state bank could rebuild bridges

Why don't the lawmakers consider combining the railroad bridge with the Columbia River Crossing bridge? This would reduce the cost for each, and increase the traffic on the double-decker.? Then leave the Interstate 5 bridge for? brave souls, until it can be replaced.

In my father's day, the interest that money paid to banks for the St. Johns Bridge cost taxpayers three times as much as it cost to build it, although the bank didn't provide any labor or materials.? If Oregon had a state bank, like North Dakota has, the interest money could be recycled into other public projects instead of into bankers' pockets.?

Former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury would have created a state bank had he been elected governor.? This would solve the problem of banks too big to fail, or regulate, because a state bank is too small to fail because it is so easy to regulate.

Make it easier to regulate by loaning only for state projects like bridges, freeways and county court houses. Because the state reuses the interest money, these projects are a great deal easier on the taxpayer.??

Sharon Joy, Northwest Portland


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