To the editor:

My writings have been translated into 12 languages and are in university libraries in 65 countries. I have traveled to Asia, Europe and Africa as well as most large American and Canadian cities to do book signings since my first book was published in 1980 by Houghton Mifflin.

I just returned from Portland, and was shocked at what I saw. I was there a few years ago and the contrast to what I saw on this trip was enormous. Graffiti was everywhere, as were tents housing thousands of homeless people living off of welfare. I did not see any people near the tents because most sleep during the day. Many are drug addicts using free needles supplied by the city to reduce needle sharing and AIDS. Their welfare money often went to support drug habits. Those who overdosed, not uncommon, are picked up and buried by the city if the authorities cannot locate their family. Portland temperature is usually mild, so in the winter the city pays for motel space. They often eat at churches that feed the poor, so can spend their welfare to support their drug habit.

A friend who works with the homeless tells me most do not want to change their life. At one time vagrancy laws prevented this lifestyle, and helped them find a means to lawfully support themselves. Now their lifestyle is largely condoned by the progressives.

I normally visit one of the largest bookstores in America, Powel’s, in downtown Portland but was unable to this time. The beautiful inner city with its exotic restaurants was, I was told, dangerous and largely boarded up and/or damaged from rioting. Gone were many jobs, which had often supported black residents. The family that sponsored me was, to put it mildly, very angry at the progressive Democrats who ruined their city. The same problem exists in Los Angeles, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the many other cities controlled mostly by the “new Democrats.”

When I asked if the deterioration of their city could be reversed, I was told it was doubtful as over 60% were progressive Democrats that vote largely by party, not character or their position on the salient issues. They allowed the city to deteriorate with their reckless anti-police and defund the police policies that disproportionately hurt people of color, the very people the rioting was supposed to be helping. The “no cash bail” policy allowed rioters back on the street after a few hours, to continue rioting and destroying their city. Those few persons prosecuted mostly got light sentences, if any at all. We know that for serious crimes the prison recidivism rate is close to 70% based on those who got caught. It is actually 80% or higher, given the fact that some are never caught because they learned from their mistakes which got them convicted.

One solution to the epidemic crime problem in big cities is punishment and longer sentences for most offenders instead of doing nothing, as is often true now. Crime and rioting is a problem because the authorities allow it to occur by doing little or nothing to stop it. The city authorities who allow this must be held accountable and, at the least, removed from office. I have not seen this problem in any other country I have visited.

Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.

Montpelier, Ohio

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