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Our readers also disagree with State Sen. Betsy Johnson about the National Popular Vote bill and appreciate the Salem Capital Bureau reporting

Portland's chief of police hopes that outlawing masks will prevent violent demonstrations. But this is not the correct antidote to the escalating violence.

I certainly do not condone the brutal behavior of the far left and far right in recent demonstrations. As a college student who grew up in the Portland area, I am distraught by these increasingly frightening demonstrations. We should all feel safe in the city we love.

However, the intent of the law would be to suppress the behavior of specific parties who use masks as a form of expression. Can this be anything but a violation of freedom of expression?

Portland citizens should not have to sacrifice these freedoms to feel safe. In fact, I doubt these regulations will make us feel safe. Masks can be replaced by face-paint, aviator sunglasses or costumes. Will the city ban these items next? If so, when does the increasing list of restrictions stop?

I suggest Portland think up alternative methods to keeping citizens safe from aggressive demonstrators. In my book, banning an obvious form of expression is a violation of what America is founded upon: freedom.

Helen Cook

Beaverton

Johnson on wrong side of National Popular Vote

In Sen. Betsy Johnson's scripted speech before she voted against Senate Bill 870, I can't decide what's worse: Johnson's shocking defense of Presidnet Trump or her assault against the National Popular Vote.

The senator's failed call for ballot reference was a deliberate lose/lose strategy. One where a backward worded — "yes" means "no" — language during a low-turnout election might make it easy for opponents with millions in PAC money to manufacture a failure they could exploit as a pretext to block any future reconsideration.

Her sudden concern for the opinions of voters is worthy of a "Blazing Saddles"-style satire. Where were her tender sentiments for voter preferences in 2016 when 3 million votes were tossed in the garbage?

Even if it passed, recall that a state does not have authority above the U.S. Constitution. It would be a triviality to overturn because Article 2 Section 1 explicitly says that the state Legislature has exclusive authority in how it assigns its electors, not the voters. That is why no proponent has espoused that cynically written political dumpster fire attempt to derail and kill it.

The National Popular Vote is about one word: "democracy."

Johnson neither represents her party, which resolved to support it, nor the majority of voters who support it. Complaining that renewed interest in passage of the National Popular Vote is because of two words, "Donald Trump," is like ridiculing the declaration of war against fascist Japan because of the two words: "Pearl Harbor."

Whose side is she on?

Ted Thomas

Astoria

Thanks for good reporting from Salem

Thanks to the Pamplin Media Group Capitol Bureau in Salem, which included three reporters from several state news organizations, citizens were able to read the best reporting on the legislative session in years.

Reporters included Mark Miller, one of the editors of the Forest Grove News-Times/Hillsboro Tribune. Up-to-the-minute tweets from reporters enabled us to know what was happening in this chaotic session and contact our representatives and senators.

Great investment of staff and effort. Let's see more of this.

Sue Bliss

Hillsboro


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